Explain how ICICI engaged recovery agents despite Supreme Court bar: Allahabad High Court to chairman [29.5.2024]

The Allahabad High Court has directed the chairman of the ICICI Bank to personally explain how its officials engaged recovery agents in a loan case despite a prohibition on it by the apex court.

Hearing a petition by Jasminder Chahal and three others, all of whom are ICICI officials, Justice Prashant Kumar said, "The officers of the ICICI Bank were very well aware of the fact that they cannot engage any recovery agent, and yet they engaged the services of recovery agents in the year 2013, which is six years after passing of the judgment by the Supreme Court".

The Supreme Court in the matter of ICICI Bank Ltd. Vs. Prakash Kaur (2007) had categorically held that the banks will not use the services of the recovery agents to recover the bank loans and they have to follow the procedure laid down under the law.

As the chairman of ICICI was not a party in the petition filed under Section 482 (inherent powers of the high court), the court permitted the applicants to make him a party in the petition.

The matter is related to a loan taken by one Rahul Singh. It is alleged that despite the whole payment to the bank, it showed Singh as a defaulter and, as a result, he failed to obtain further loan or financial assistance which hampered his business interest.

Also, the ICICI filed a civil suit against the borrower in Kanpur Nagar and used recovery agents who according to Singh reached his ancestral house when he was in the US.

The recovery agents, he alleged, used derogatory remarks and maligned his image in society.

Singh then filed a criminal complaint before the Kanpur Nagar court, which issued a summons to the ICICI officials.

The applicants, who are ICICI officials, then filed the present petition before the high court seeking a stay on the entire proceedings against them.

After hearing both sides, the court directed the chairman of the ICICI Bank to clarify how a civil suit was filed against the complainant Rahul Singh, especially when the entire loan amount along with interest and foreclosure charges were paid, and why the complainant was put to harassment.

The chairman was also directed to state how his bank was still taking the services of recovery agents when the same was clearly barred by the Supreme Court.

The court in its order dated May 15 also directed to list this case on July 10, 2024, for the next hearing. PTI CORR.

29 May 2024