As a reprieve to flailing businesses amidst the COVID Pandemic, the Telangana High Court has ordered the State Bank of India to extend the debt repayment deadline under the One-Time Settlement scheme by 90 days.
Before the bench of Justices A. Rajashekhar Reddy and K. Lakshman, it was submitted on behalf of the petitioner corporation that only 20% of the OTS amount could be paid and the balance 80% was outstanding due to the prevailing Covid-19. It was urged that as there was no improvement, the petitioner industry is running with 40% of the staff and have also requested the respondent Bank for further extension of time.
On the other hand, the Standing Counsel for the respondent Bank argued that because of the Covid-19, the time for payment of the amount under OTS was extended to all the borrowers till 30.06.2020, as such, there cannot be any further extension. He further contended that the petitioner has not paid any amount to show his bonafides during these three months period of extension of time.
The Division Bench appreciated that the Apex Court has extended the limitations under several statutes, "where there is no provision for condonation of delay also", till further orders or till the lockdown is lifted, and that the Full Bench of this Court also "extended interim orders taking into consideration of the prevailing Covid-19".
"No doubt, as contended by the learned Standing Counsel for the respondent Bank that the OTS is a special scheme and time for payment under said scheme is provided and same as extended to the petitioner, and same cannot be again extended as it will violate the very scheme itself", further acknowledged the Court.
In the same breath, the bench observed that "the situation is extraordinary affecting the entire humanity and judicial notice has already been taken of the same", and that "Standing Counsel could not dispute the situation due to Covid-19 prevailing in the country".
"In view of above extraordinary circumstances, we are of the opinion that the petitioner can be granted time for payment entire due under OTS till the end of August, 2020', directed the Court.
The bench further clarified that in order to show his bonafides, the petitioner shall pay 25% of the outstanding amount by the end of this month i.e., July, 2020 and the balance 75% of the amount, by the end of August, 2020. "Failing which, it is open for the respondent Bank to take appropriate action, in accordance with law", added the bench.
WRIT PETITION No.9408 OF 2020
MM/S. SRI YADADRI LIFESCIENCES P LTD. v. M/S. STATE BANK OF INDIA