|EARLY TIMES REPORT|
SRINAGAR, July 2: In a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by President, Restaurant and Cafe Association, Kashmir and President, Industrial Revival and Development Forum, Kashmir challenging notification dated 27.03.2020, Circular No.40-619 dated January 3, 2020, circular No.62-528 dated December 15, 2016 and circular bearing No.55-398 dated October 24, 2014, be declared as ultra vires the Constitution of India to the extent same directs charging of interest of loan amounts during the period of moratorium and also seeking waive of the interest component on the loan amounts for the period of moratorium was/ has been declared.
A Division Bench of J&K High Court comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Rajnesh Oswal after hearing Sr. Adv Jahangir Iqbal Ganai with Adv Sheikh Umar Farooq for the petitioners issued notice to the respondents returnable before the next date of hearing.
In the petition, it is contended that the same is being filed for the benefit of persons belonging to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh, who have availed loan facilities from different banks, but, on account of the prevailing lockdown announced by the Government in view of outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, are not in a position to pay the due installments, including the interest charged on the loan amounts. The petitioners are also seeking a direction in the name of the respondents for waiving of interest charged by the banks on the term loans during the period when moratorium was granted by the banks on account of special rehabilitation/ revival package for the persons affected by natural calamity-floods in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir; rehabilitation package to borrowers hit by the disturbances that occurred in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir in 2016 and 2019. In this backdrop, the grouse of the petitioners, in, nutshell, is that although the decision, on the part of the respondents, to grant moratorium, as detailed out hereinabove, is appreciable, but, by providing that the interest component shall continue to accrue on the outstanding portion of the term loans during the moratorium period, the very purpose of the scheme/ policy has been rendered useless. JNF