Banks can now declare defaulting accounts of debt-ridden Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) and its group companies as non-performing assets, but cannot initiate recovery proceedings.

A Bench headed by National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) Chairman Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya on Thursday lifted the freeze on banks from declaring defaulting accounts of the company and its 300 entities as NPAs.

But the NCLAT said banks cannot initiate the recovery process and debit money and must not withdraw support until a resolution is found.

The Reserve Bank of India had last week asked banks to declare details of their exposure and provisions related to IL&FS as part of their quarterly results.

In an earlier order of February 25, NCLAT said no financial institution can declare the accounts of IL&FS or its entities as NPAs without its prior permission.

In April, the RBI had sought a modification of the NCLAT order and contended that banks should reflect IL&FS’ bad loans in their accounts.

₹94,000-crore debt

A number of banks have already made disclosures about their exposure to IL&FS accounts and also made provisions for them. IL&FS group has total debt of over ₹94,000 crore.

IL&FS Group firms have been categorised as green, red and amber based on their ability to pay.

According to a recent briefing by the new management of IL&FS, its non-banking finance company IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN) reported a gross NPA ratio of 90 per cent as on December 31, 2018.