Supreme Court: The bench of Arun Mishra and UU Lalit, JJ directed the banks and financial institutions to release loans to home buyers of Amrapali Group, whose loans have been sanctioned, notwithstanding the fact that their accounts are declared as Non-Performing Assets (NPAs).
“Let there be restructuring of the loan amount. It may be released under the current norms of the RBI for releasing loans and the rates fixed by the RBI therefor.”
The Court further said that the disbursement of further loans may be based on the present rate of interest fixed by the RBI; this we order in the peculiar facts of the case. It may be released stage-wise and long-term restructuring of the loans may be done so that construction is completed and buyers are able to repay the loan.
Earlier, ASG Vikramjit Banerjee had submitted before the Court that that RBI instructions do not come in the way of releasing home buyers’ loans whose accounts are NPAs and that the banks were ready to release the loan to the home buyers.
Considering the fact that the housing projects have been stalled for the last several years, the Court noticed that the home buyers have obtained loans but cannot enjoy the fruits of their investment. At the same time, if projects are not completed and home buyers are not sure of handing over of flats, it would be difficult for them to pay bank dues till eternity and it is in the interest of home buyers as well as banks and financial institutions as they can recover money when projects are completed in an effective manner.
On Interest to be realized on the outstanding dues by Noida and Greater Noida Authorities
Receiver submitted before the Court that there is a lack of clarity concerning dues of local authorities/banks/lenders and that proper relaxations and concessions are required to be given concerning such dues. It was also submitted before the Court that the projects are incomplete, there were various litigations which created a huge financial impact and non-delivery of projects, which reflects the pathetic condition of the real estate sector. The developers and the home buyers both are adversely affected due to non-delivery of booked flats in the regions of Noida and Greater Noida etc.
Considering the current state of real estate, the projects are standstill, and in order to give impetus to such housing projects and mainly considering plight of home buyers and as pointed out by Noida and Greater Noida Authorities that 114 plots were allotted from 2005 onwards, most of projects are incomplete, the Court directed:
- Rate of interest on the outstanding premium and other dues to be realized in all such cases at the rate of 8% per annum and the Noida and Greater Noida Authorities should do a restructuring of the repayment schedule so that amount is paid and Noida and Greater Noida Authorities are able to realize the same.
- In case of failure to pay, the concession granted shall stand withdrawn.
- Noida and Greater Noida Authorities shall also ensure that not only instalments/money are deposited, but also all such projects are completed within the stipulated time.
On NBCC’s scope of responsibilities and legal immunity
The Court directed that NBCC is immune from any legal actions for any existing disputes involving and in relation to the Amrapali Projects.
“we request the Courts/ Consumer Redressal Commission and other authorities not to permit impleadment of NBCC as respondent and not to issue summons to NBCC as they are doing the work under the supervision of this Court and are not answerable to any other court, tribunal, authorities.”
It further directed that NBCC is granted immunity to be sued in any other court or commission, and they are answerable to Supreme Court only in the pending proceedings. Thus, they cannot be dragged in the litigation filed by existing home buyers, previous contractors, co-developers, landowners, banks, financial institutions, other lenders and creditors, and any Government authorities before any other Court/ Commission or Authority.
It is also made clear that NBCC is not responsible for attending to queries made by the home buyers. They have to report the progress to the Receiver, who then, has to put progress reports of projects on the blog/website.
[Bikram Chatterjee v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 494 , decided on 10.06.2020]