"It Is Constitutionally Imperative For Govt To Take Care Of Those In Penury", Kerala HC Observes While Staying SARFAESI Proceedings [Read Order]
Expressing deep empathy with a borrower who got entangled in SARFAESI proceedings upon default of loan availed to meet medical expenses of his children, the High Court of Kerala sought to know from the Government about its schemes to provide relief to persons in distress.
"I am of the opinion that where people are pushed into deep distress and pathos on account of unbearable medical expenses for members of family, including children, the State Machinery should involve and give humanistic support to the citizens so that they will be in a position to live with at least minimum required human dignity and respect", observed Justice Devan Ramachandran, while staying the recovery proceedings against the borrower.
Faced with recovery proceedings initiated by the bank under the SARFAESI Act, the borrower had filed writ petition in the High Court. The loans, though taken stating different reasons, where actually used to finance the medical treatment of his children.The family is now caught in a "cesspool of liability", and are not in a position to clear the liability even by liquidating the assets, submitted the counsel for petitioner.
The usual approach of Court in such cases is to relegate the parties to avail alternate remedies or to grant breathing time to pay off arrears by providing instalment facility. However, Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that the instant case called for a more effective intervention by the Court, as the family was in utter penury owing to reasons beyond their control.
"The duties and obligations of the State to take care of its citizens, particularly those who are unable to take care of themselves due to various factors, including penury, are constitutionally imperative", said Justice Devan. No self respecting citizen would allow himself to stoop so low to the level of having to beg, unless they are forced by circumstances. Justice Devan further asked whether the government, which is guided by humanistic philosophy of Constitution, should give up on the citizens, constraining them to beg before fellow citizens. He observed that it was "heart-breaking" to see public appeals made by persons through media seeking charitable aid from others for medical treatment of their children.
"It is sometimes deeply worrying that the State Machinery fails to or omits to step in and offer relief to such citizens, especially when large amounts of public revenue is stated to be spent for social upliftment and redressal of human rights and causes", the judge observed. The government should inform if it has any method to support people in similar distress so that they will not be thrown to streets.
The Government was therefore directed to file an affidavit explaining the welfare schemes available for persons situated in similar state of penury. The District Collector was directed to authorize an officer to visit the petitioner to ascertain his state, including the treatment of his children.Read Order