Refusal of Loan by a Banker Does Not Amount To Abetment To Suicide: Bombay High Court

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A criminal case was filed against a banker alleging abetment to suicide by refusing bank loan. The Court observed that refusal of loan on the pendency of the previous loan is an act of a prudent banker. Therefore, the impugned FIR was quashed and set aside.  

Brief Facts

A First Information Report was registered at the local police station under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. The complainant alleged that his brother committed suicide after his request for restructuring past loan and granting of the new loan was rejected by the Branch Manager. On the day of the suicide, he declared that he would not take food and subsequently locked himself in the room. 

Therefore, the applicant, the bank manager, filed a criminal application stating that the loan could not be granted as the deceased owed an amount of Rs. 2 Lakhs. The present proceedings were initiated to quash the FIR.  

Court’s Observation

The Court rejected the submissions made by the complainant and placed reliance on various pronouncements of the Apex Court. The original reference was made to the ratio in the case of Dilip s/o Ramrao Shirasao vs the State of Maharashtra. The present Court had held that the prosecution must show a prima facie case that accused had an intention to aid or instigate or abet deceased to commit suicide. Hence, in the absence of availability of such material, the accused cannot be compelled to face trial for the offence punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

Further, the Court remarked that the prosecution never denied pendency of the previous loan. If the Branch Manager rejected the loan on such ground, it is an act of a vigilant and prudent banker. Therefore, it cannot be termed as instigation or abetment to commit suicide.

Court’s Order

The judgement was pronounced by division-bench comprising of Justice V.M. Deshpande and Justice Anil Kilor. The Court has quashed the impugned FIR against the Branch Manager and set aside all proceedings based on the FIR. 

Relevance

In the unprecedented times of COVID- 19, India’s GDP has contracted by 23.9% in the first quarter of the financial year. On the one hand, a significant section of the population has been coping the financial crisis using past savings while rest have been unemployed and looking forward to loans from banks. Therefore, the Court must decide whether the refusal to financial aid be termed as abetment to suicide.   


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