Urjit Patel, governor of the Reserve Bank of India, centre. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Court Declines Urgent Hearing On Centre’s Alleged Interference In RBI’s Functioning

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to accord urgent hearing on a petition alleging interference by the Centre in the functioning of the Reserve Bank of India.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph said the issue mentioned in the petition did not require an urgent hearing and it will come in "due course”.

"We will see to it," the bench said when lawyer ML Sharma, who had filed the public interest litigation in personal capacity, sought the urgent hearing. The PIL sought the court should declare that the Centre has no "legal right" to issue any direction to the federal bank.

It also sought a direction to the Ministry of Finance that the consultation given by the central bank's governor under the RBI Act was binding on the Centre and the President of India.

Also read: RBI-Government Spat: Finance Ministry Seeks Review Of Central Bank Balance Sheet

It further sought a direction to the ministry, RBI and the State Bank of India "to recover the debts, along with the interest, from the corporate debtors/resolution applicant (acquirers) to protect public money in the interest of justice".

Tensions between the RBI and the government have escalated recently, with the Finance Ministry initiating discussion under the never-used-before Section 7 of the RBI Act which empowers the government to issue directions to the RBI Governor.

RBI Governor Urjit Patel is believed to have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week in a bid to work out a solution on contentious issues that have been flash point between the central bank and the government during the last few weeks.

Also read: RBI Governor Meets Prime Minister To Resolve Ongoing Issues