Says menace continues despite enactment of legislation

“Kadanpattaar Nenjam Pol Kalanginaan Ilangai Vendhan wrote Kambar when he described the state of mind of Ravana in the battlefield. He compared and equated the sorrow and mental agony of Ravana to that of a debtor. Here is a case which describes the suffering of a debtor who borrowed money from a group which charges exorbitant interest,” began a judgement passed by the Madras High Court Bench here on Friday.

Justice N. Kirubakaran had made the observation while disposing of criminal original petitions filed by a government servant and his college going daughter to restrain the Madurai city as well as district police from harassing them following a complaint lodged by three women money lenders who, according to the petitioners, were demanding Rs. 10 lakh in return for a loan of Rs. 5 lakh taken by the government servant’s wife in September 2010.

Finding prima facie substance in the petitioners’ claim, the judge said: “the aforesaid facts would demonstrate that persons who are lending money on Kandhu Vatti (exorbitant interest) are deep rooted in the society for more than two decades and many families are falling victims to them due to circumstances…

In a few cases, it is reported that either the borrower or the entire family had committed suicide because of the threat of those merciless money lenders.

Social problem

“Definitely, it has become a social problem. Understanding the gravity of the problem, the State Government had rightly enacted a special legislation called The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Charging Exorbitant Interest Act, 2003 to curtail the above menace. In spite of the said legislation, these groups are active.” He also cautioned the police to be on guard and avoid being utilised by the money lenders for recovering their dues by lodging false complaints against the borrowers.

Stringent action

“The police force is required not to entertain such type of complaints. To curb this evil of Kandhu Vatti, more firm and stringent action is required,” Justice N. Kirubakaran said.

Borrowing money on interest itself is like cancer and it will swallow a borrower.

People should also avoid taking loans from these moneylenders risking their reputation and safety, life and future of their families,” the judge said and pointed out that of late money lenders were lodging police complaints even before the borrowers could approach the law enforcing agency.

In so far as the present case was concerned, Justice N. Kirubakaran restrained the Subramaniapuram police station in the city as well as the District Crime Branch (DCB) police from harassing the petitioners.

He also directed the District Crime Branch to investigate a case registered against the three money lenders on the basis of a complaint lodged by the government servant’s wife.

He asked them to proceed in accordance with law.

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