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Lawyer moves Supreme Court seeking direction for RBI to extend moratorium on loan repayment till December 31

The moratorium allowed by the RBI on repayment of term loans currently is till August 31.

Shruti Mahajan

A lawyer has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to extend the moratorium on repayment of term loans till December 31 on account of the economic crisis faced by various sectors.

Citing the hardships faced by those in service sectors and lawyers, the petitioner, Vishal Tiwari, says that the sectors reeling under financial crisis are not likely to come out of the same on August 31, which is the current deadline. As such, the moratorium period should be further extended till December 31, the petition prays.

"The Financial Crises and Slump for service sector/lawyers, Transport and Tourist Industry is not going to recover and run smoothly just after 31st of August 2020, it will take time and till the smooth and Regular functioning it will be in the public Interest to extend the Moratorium and Defer the loan Instalments till 31st December 2020"

Touching upon the financial distress faced by many of the lawyers and litigators, the petitioner says that the pandemic has also set off another crisis where people have lost their jobs or source of income and are in dire situations. The closing down of the Court during the lockdown led to many lawyers finding themselves in a tough situation, it is further said.

"Due to the lockdown scenario in the country because of the pandemic, it has become a real struggling issue to pay off the monthly loan instalments as there is no constant and secured income of the legal professionals and independent litigators due to the closure of the physical hearing in various Courts of the country including the Supreme Court of India."

Lawyers under financial stress are unlikely to overcome the situation by August 31 considering the Court remains closed for physical hearings, this PIL says adding further that people employed in other similarly placed industries are also likely to continue facing the effect of the financial crisis for more time.

In light of the same, should the Banks and lenders demand repayment of loans after August 31, people will face a larger struggle to make ends meet considering there is no income to meet these demands for EMI payments.

The petitioner invokes Article 21 and the right to life and livelihood saying that a situation of this nature would be in violation of this fundamental right.

As such, the prayer is made for a direction for the extension of moratorium till December 31 "till the time court reopens with the direction to all the banks to kindly adhere to the same for the Lawyers/Service Sector, Transport and Tourist Industry including Drivers, tourist guides and other covered under these sector and Defer the EMI payment on Term loans;"

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