Taking cognisance of a report in the The Hindu Tamil newspaper on money lenders charging usurious rates of interest, the Madras High Court has ordered notice to the authorities, including the Home Secretary, returnable by October 22.

The First Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice M. Sathyanarayanan, passed the order.

Originally, citing a report in the newspaper on September 23, Justice N. Kirubakaran had written to the Acting Chief Justice with a request to treat it as a suo motu PIL and pass appropriate orders.

The communication said the news item was on the problems created by money lenders who charged exorbitant interest. It also gave details of the violent acts and offences committed by those charging exorbitant rates of interest for the money lent by them thereby creating panic and fear in the minds of the borrowers and the general public. It had become a dangerous social problem.

The First Bench treated the news item as a PIL.

The prayer in the PIL sought a direction to the government to strictly implement the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Charging Exorbitant Interest Act in letter and spirit, furnish the number of cases registered under the law and the steps taken to prevent the menace.

The Government Pleader, S.T.S.Moorthy, took notice on behalf of the authorities.

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