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Supreme Court pursues RBI’s big defaulters’ list; mulls revealing names

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is perusing the long list of big defaulters submitted to it by the Reserve Bank of India. After studying the list, the apex court said that the list amounts to “quite a substantial amount” and makes a case.

The Supreme Court said that it is also examining if the total default amount which is running into crores can be disclosed.

“This information does make out a case. This is quite a substantial amount which is involved,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice R Banumathi said.

This is opposed to the RBI’s request of keeping the names of those on the list a secret. The RBI had submitted the defaulters’ list to the SC in a sealed envelope and requested it to keep the names out of the public eye. RBI has, on its part, raised the confidentiality clause to keep the list under wraps.

Noting that the issue was important, the bench said it will examine if the total amount of defaulting loans running into crores of rupees can be disclosed and asked the parties involved in the matter to frame various issues that could be debated.

The bench, which expanded the scope of the PIL, impleaded Ministry of Finance and Indian Bank’s Association as parties posted the matter for further hearing on April 26.

Only last week, after announcing the first bi-monthly monetary policy of FY16, Governor Raghuram Rajan elaborated on RBI’s stance of keeping the names on the list a secret. He said, “making the list of corporates that had defaulted on their loans public, without understanding the severity of the situation and the reasons leading to the default may create a loss of business and undue anxiety and a chill in business activity.”

Read Raghuram Rajan’s full explanation here

Last month, the central bank, on an order from the Supreme Court, submitted a list of defaulters of over Rs 500 crore on the bank of rising worries over the rise of bad loans in the country.

Wilful defaults are pegged around Rs 3.75 lakh crore. According to bankers, that is three-fourth of the gross non-performing assets (NPAs). This is the list that bankers submit to RBI.

(With inputs from PTI)

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