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Loan repay demand by official is not abetment to suicide: Bombay HC

The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has quashed an FIR against a finance company employee, charged with abetment to suicide for demanding loan repayment from a borrower, saying it was a part of the employee’s duty and cannot be said to have instigated the borrower to end life.

A bench of Justices Vinay Deshpande and Anil Kilor held that the petitioner, Rohit Nalawade, who was booked under IPC Section 306 (abetment of suicide), had merely been discharging his official duty in trying to recover the dues from the borrower, Pramod Chouhan.

Chouhan later ended his life and alleged in his suicide note that he was being harassed by the petitioner for loan repayment.

The bench in a recent order said, “The allegations are only to the effect that the applicant (Nalawade) demanded outstanding loan amount from the deceased which was the part of his duty being employee of the finance company.”

“In view of that, the demand of outstanding loan amount from the person who was in default of payment of loan amount, during the course of employment as a duty, at any stretch of imagination cannot be said to be any intention to aid or to instigate or to abet the deceased to commit suicide,” it said.

As per the order, a police complaint was lodged in Maharashtra’s Washim district against a man from Pune under IPC Section 306 for demanding the loan amount from Chouhan.

The prosecution told the HC that Chouhan had taken a loan from Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Service Limited for purchasing a new vehicle namely through loan agreement.

As per the First Information Report (FIR), dated August 8, 2018 and lodged at Shripur in Washim, the finance company sanctioned a loan of Rs 6,21,000 to Chouhan, and it was agreed that he would re-pay the amount in four years through monthly installments of Rs 17,800 each.

When Chouhan could not repay the loan amount, he committed suicide, the prosecution said.

Chouhan alleged in his suicide note that he was being harassed by the petitioner, who was repeatedly calling him and asking that he pay back the money, the prosecution said.

Nalawade approached the HC seeking that the FIR against him be quashed.

While quashing the FIR, the court said Section 306 of the IPC could not be applied to the applicant’s (Nalawade) case.

Theere have some cases recently in Telangana of people reportedly ending their lives after they were harassed to pay back loans given in alleged violations of regulatory guidelines to gullible and needy victims facing economic hardships.

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