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'Go Catch Bigger Fish...The Ones Who Loot 1000s Of Crores' : Supreme Court Rejects Bank's Case Against Farmer

Shruti Kakkar
14 May 2022 1:09 PM GMT
Go Catch Bigger Fish...The Ones Who Loot 1000s Of Crores : Supreme Court Rejects Banks Case Against Farmer

The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the Bank of Maharashtra for challenging a High Court's order of directing the bank to accept the OTS proposal given by a farmer who had availed a loan from the bank.

"Go after bigger fish. Such a litigation in Supreme Court will spoil the families of farmers financially," the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant remarked while dismissing the plea assailing Madhya Pradesh High Court's order dated February 21, 2022.

"You don't file cases against the ones who loot 1000s of crores but whole law comes into place when a matter of farmers comes. You accepted the Down Payment also", the bench orally remarked.

In the present matter, the respondent had obtained a loan and intended to pay it in terms of a One Time Settlement which was quantified as Rs 3650000/-. in furtherance thereof the respondent had deposited Rs 35,00,000 with the bank.

However, the Asset Recovery Branch of the Bank informed him that he will be required to deposit Rs.50.50 lakhs as full and final settlement of the dues.

Aggrieved with the same the respondent had approached the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

His counsel argued before the Court that the letter dated March 9, 2021 showed that the petitioner was required to pay minimum 10% of the OTS amount within stipulated time and that he had deposited Rs.35,00,000/- out of Rs.36,50,000/- within the stipulated time.

He further averred that the only option left with the Bank was to proceed further after the stage of issuance of 'intimation letter' and if the petitioner was eligible, issue a 'sanction letter'. It was also counsel's contention that the bank had miserably failed to accept the same and on the contrary, decided to enhance the compromise amount to Rs.50.50 lakhs unilaterally which was contrary to the OTS scheme.

The bench of Justices Sujoy Paul and Dwarka Dhish Bansal while setting aside the impugned orders of the bank said,

"we are unable to give stamp of approval to the impugned orders and action of the Bank. Since petitioners promptly filed instant petitions within two months from the date of issuance of order dated 22.9.2021, we are unable to hold that because of clause-7 of OTS scheme, offer stood expired automatically. The petitioner not only promptly challenged the said order, it is noteworthy that petitioner never acceeded to the unilateral decision dated 25.08.2021. Even otherwise when letter dated 25.8.2021 is held to be illegal by us, clause-7 of policy cannot take away the fruits of OTS benefits."

Allowing the petitioner's plea court said, "The OTS proposal given by the petitioners in both the cases shall be accepted by the Bank and 'sanction letters' be issued forthwith. Needless to emphasise, the Bank shall complete remaining formalities and provide all consequential benefits flowing therefrom to the petitioners."

Case Title: Bank of Maharashtra & Ors v Mohanlal Patidar| Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s).8088-8089/2022

Click Here To Read/Download Supreme Court Order

Click Here To Read/Download High Court Order

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