P.R. VENU Vs. ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, STAE BANK OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Assistant General Manager, Stae Bank Of India
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(1.) "Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity,
no matter how poor or damaged the shell that carries it"
said the Pulitzer Prize winning writer Mr. Rick Bragg in his book-'All Over But the Shoutin'. The propriety of the bank publishing the photograph of loanees in newspapers prejudicially affecting their dignity falls for consideration in these two writ petitions.
(2.) The State Bank of India (the 'Bank' for short) has obtained a decree for money against the petitioner in WP (C) No. 10864/2013 and another in OS No. 643/2010 on the file of the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Ernakulam. The same petitioner has also been convicted for dishonour of cheque at the instance of the bank in ST No. 4388/2010 on the file of the Court of the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Kolenchery. Similarly the bank has filed a suit for realisation of money against the petitioner in WP (C) No. 10781/2013 and two others on the file of the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Kottayam wherein the written statements are yet to be filed. It is at this juncture has the bank issued notices to the petitioners threatening to publish their photographs, names and addresses in the leading newspapers. The petitioners challenge the proposed action of the bank as arbitrary and without any legislative sanction besides being violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India. The bank maintains that it is entitled to resort to any step for realisation of the amount due including publishing the photographs of the petitioners so long as the same is not forbidden by law. The bank points out that such a course has been approved by the High Courts of Madras and Madhya Pradesh even though frowned upon by the High Court of Kolkata.
(3.) I heard Mr. Praveen Hariharan, Advocate and Mr. Abraham Mathew, Advocate on behalf of the petitioners and Mr. R. S. Kalkura, Advocate on behalf of the Bank. I also heard Mr. P. Deepak, Advocate as Amicus Curiae who deserves a rich encomium for the able assistance rendered to Court.;
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