NEW DELHI The Supreme Court has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to provide the names of corporate loan defaulters with outstanding debt of at least 5 billion rupees ($73.11 million), as well as details of restructured assets.
The RBI would need to provide the information within two months, though it could keep details under "sealed cover", a directive from the Supreme Court said.
The directive comes in the wake of a public interest litigation suit seeking to look into loans made by Housing & Urban Development Co Ltd to some companies.
"We direct the RBI to file a detailed affidavit mentioning about the list of the companies which are defaulters of loans," Chief Justice T. S. Thakur said as he read out the Supreme Court's interim order.
The RBI had previously resisted prior court orders to reveal the names of companies who have defaulted, saying to do so risked breaching confidentiality rules.
India's banking sector, dominated by two dozen state-run lenders, is suffering from its highest stressed-assets ratio in 13 years as an economic slowdown hits company earnings, exposing the sector's history of profligate lending.
The directive from the court has not yet been uploaded on its website.
RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan had said earlier this month the central bank would not stand in the way of revealing the names of defaulters if there was a public case for it.
($1 = 68.3900 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Writing by Suvashree Dey Choudhury in MUMBAI; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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