ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court directed on Thursday the State Bank to serve fresh notices to 50 companies and individuals who got loan waivers.
During the course of the hearing of a suo motu case, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked that this money belonged to the nation and loan defaulters would be pursued until they return the money they owed to banks.
When the three-member bench of the apex court resumed the hearing of the case, State Bank’s counsel Iqbal Haider apprised the court that notices had been issued to all companies and individuals concerned, adding that they have been asked to appear before the court and defend their positions.
When the court asked who is authorised to write off loans, the lawyer submitted that this authority rests with a board of governors of banks.
The chief justice observed that only major companies and individuals with political clout appear to be enjoying this facility, while the poor are deprived of their rights.
He observed that criminal cases should be registered and legal action should be started against bank officers who illegally sanctioned loans.
When the chief justice came across the name of Saifur Rehman as he was scanning the list of loan write-off beneficiaries, he remarked that those who hold others accountable should also abide by the law. Everyone will have to return loans, no matter who they are, the chief justice said.
Justice Ramday observed that people who are unable to repay just Rs8,000 are penalised and even their houses are auctioned for the recovery of the borrowed money, adding that no harm will come to the national economy if these loans are returned.
Later, the chief justice adjourned the hearing till October 29.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2010.