RBI has been asked by the apex court to submit list of big defaulters or whose loans have been restructured under the CDR scheme
The Supreme court on Wednesday asked the Reserve Bank of India to furnish a list of the companies which are in default of loans in excess of Rs500 crore or whose loans have been restructured under corporate debts restructuring (CDR) scheme by banks and financial institutions.
While asking the RBI to file an affidavit, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice GS Thakur directed that the list be furnished to it in a sealed cover that would include details of defaults of over past five years. The Court said this as one of the counsels told the court about commercial confidentiality of the companies.
During FY2013 to FY2015, 29 public sector banks (PSBs) wrote off a total of Rs1.14 lakh crore of bad debts. RBI had disclosed in a reply under Right to Information (RTI) Act that the bad debts shot up over three times to Rs52,542 crore as on March 2015 from Rs15,551 crore on March 2012. State Bank of Saurashtra and State Bank of Indore have shown zero bad debts over the past five years.
The Court order came in the course of the hearing of a public interest litigation pointing to loans given by Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) in 2003 to some of the companies with questionable track records.
According to a newspaper report, during 2004 to 2012, the bad debt of PSBs grew at 4%, which rose to about 60% during FY2013 to FY2015. The bad debts written off in the financial year ending March 2015 make up 85% of such loans since 2013, the report says.
Earlier in December 2015, the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement, has told the RBI that the banking regulator cannot withhold information citing 'fiduciary relations' under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Hearing a set of transferred cases, a Division Bench of Justice MY Eqbal and Justice C Nagappan said, "From the past we have also come across financial institutions which have tried to defraud the public. These acts are neither in the best interests of the Country nor in the interests of citizens. To our surprise, the RBI as a Watch Dog should have been more dedicated towards disclosing information to the general public under the Right to Information Act. We also understand that the RBI cannot be put in a fix, by making it accountable to every action taken by it. However, in the instant case the RBI is accountable and as such it has to provide information to the information seekers under Section 10(1) of the RTI Act."
In most of the transferred cases, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, while directing the RBI to provide information sought by applicants, has rejected the central bank's contention of 'fiduciary relation' for denying information.