Disclosure of names of big loan defaulters pointless: SC

Focus should be on the question why non-performing assets are piling up, says CJI

The Supreme Court on Friday said public disclosure of names of defaulters who owe banks over Rs. 500 crore in bad loans is pointless.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur said focus, instead, should be on the question “why these non-performing assets [NPAs] are piling up.”

“Disclosure of the names will not lead us anywhere. The root of the problem is why are these NPAs accumulating ... why are they being allowed to do so?” Chief Justice Thakur observed.

The observation from the Bench gains significance as it was on the Supreme Court’s order that the government filed a confidential list of 57 defaulters who owe the banks about Rs. 85,000 crore in bad loans.

The previous hearings had seen the apex court turn the heat on the Reserve Bank of India for expressing reluctance in making public the names of big loan defaulters.

“Who are these people who have borrowed money and are not paying back? Why this fact that the person has borrowed money and not paying back be not known to public?” the Chief Justice had asked in the previous hearing.

The apex court had said the RBI should bring the names of defaulters into the public domain through the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

“People should know how much money a person has borrowed and how much money he needs to pay back. The amount payable should be known to public. Why should you withhold information?” Chief Justice Thakur had asked.

On Friday, the Bench’s change of stance about disclosure of the names was stark, especially when it asked “what change will it [disclosing the names and details of big defaulters to the public] do?”

“The real service is to find out the root cause of the accumulated NPAs. Your petition is not anyway about the disclosure of names,” Chief Justice Thakur addressed advocate Kamini Jaiswal, representing the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation.

The court said the second important thing was to recover the NPAs. To this, Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre and the RBI, submitted that the government was taking steps to clear the NPAs.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 1:41:20 PM |

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