NHRC issues notice to Central Bank of India chairman

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Chennai, March 2 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to Central Bank of India’s chairman asking him as to why a monetary relief of Rs.100,000 not be recommended for harassing an education loan borrower.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the NHRC said notice has been issued to the public sector Central Bank of India asking why it should not be asked to pay a monetary relief of Rs.100,000 to the beneficiary of an education loan.

The NHRC said the beneficiary student was not a defaulter but faced insult and harrssment at the hands of the Central Bank of India.

The Manjoor branch of the bank in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu displayed her as well as her father’s photographs captioning them wrongly as ‘missing’ and ‘defaulters’.

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Threatening telephonic calls were also made to her ailing father. The commission’s notice follows the bank’s admission of an error in publicly displaying the student’s name and photo as defaulter. The bank has been given six weeks time to respond, the NHRC said.

“The report submitted to the commission by the bank says that due to erroneous data entry in the system, the victim’s loan account was wrongly classified as ‘Non-Performing Asset’ (NPA),” the statement said.

According to NHRC, the publication of her as well as her father’s photographs was against the advice issued by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, to all the banks that names and photographs of the students who are unable to repay education loan or where there is a delay in the repayment thereof should not be published.

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Justice D. Murugesan, NHRC member, while issuing the notice, has observed that the display of photographs of the victim and her father on notice board is a violation of their right to live with dignity, which is recognised as dereliction of Article 21 of the Constitution as well as human rights, the NHRC statement added.

The victim had taken an education loan for Rs.200,000 from the Manjoor branch of Central Bank of India to pursue her BE degree course. She completed the course in 2013 and as per the scheme the first repayment had to start from July 2014.

She had paid half of the loan amount in the first month itself after the moratorium.

The student said the coercive methods adopted by the bank, that too against the established norms of education loan repayment, amounted to violation of human rights.

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The commission had taken cognizance of the matter on the basis of a complaint in the matter on the July 13, 2015 and called for reports from the concerned authorities.

Allegedly, the ailing father of the victim had died due to shock after receiving threatening telephone calls from the bank, the NHRC said.

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