A plea seeking directions to all banks for extension of moratorium period till December 31 2020 has been moved in top court, specifically in light of financial difficulties faced by lawyers, those engaged in the service sector as well as the transport & tourist industry.
Filed by Advocate Vishal Tiwari, the petition seeks issuance of directions so as to ensure helping borrowers in deferring their EMI payment on term loans resulting in their financial and other help till court reopens and urges adherence by banks to extend moratorium till December 31.
Tiwari highlights the plight of various people who are part of the workforce, more specifically legal professionals and independent litigators and the strain the pandemic has caused to the influx of their incomes.
"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.....the closure of the court as per the lockdown notification till 31st August, 2020 without any physical hearing in various courts of the country has brought in the problem to various legal professionals which is a significant number to think upon. Therefore, if after 31st August, 2020, the instalments are demanded by the bank, the individuals will be in a real struggle and hardship to pay such instalment with no income in hand and that action would directly lead to the infringement of fundamental right of livelihood and dignity enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India" - Tiwari states in his plea.
The petitioner has further sought a direction to Union of India and Ministry of Home Affairs & Reserve Bank of India for ensuring that the lending Institutions shall not use any kind of illegal, violent, threatening and harassing methods against borrowers for the recovery loan instalments and in case, such acts are carried out, then strict action be taken against them in accordance with law.
Due to financial difficulties, people have been struggling to pay off monthly loan instalments as there is lesser or nil income of the borrowers and legal professionals, due to the closure of the physical hearing in various Courts of the country including the Supreme Court, Tiwari avers in his petition.
"In the present time when the functioning of the courts are restricted to the limited working and that is also through online mode only, which is very hard for the professionals/Lawyers it is very difficult to earn the money for the monthly expenses"
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) initially, in its notification had on March 27, granted some relief of suspension of monthly loan instalment for a period of three months and then on May 23, another extension for another 3 months till 31st, August, 2020 was brought by the UOI. However, the closure of the court as per the lockdown notification till 31st August, 2020 without any physical hearing had brought a lot of difficulty for many, he states.
Stating that even though some legal professionals who move around in Audis & BMWs is are well established, this privileged section is very less in the fraternity, especially in the lower courts who function on a case-to-case basis. "When the courts do not function, their economic condition, becomes precarious" adds Tiwari.
Further to this, the petitioner stipulates the difficulties faced by the Travel, Transport & Hospitality industry due to the pandemic. "All the sectors work has come to a standstill, due to which either the employees are being fired or sent on paid leave. Even the salary is being reduced from 40 to 60 percent" he states.
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