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Siva (Consultant)     07 September 2010




Keep off civil disputes, HC tells police:

Chennai: Can criminal proceedings be initiated for issues concerning credit cards, personal loans, housing loans, hire-purchase schemes, default in payment of installments and cheque-bounce cases?

'' NO '' - is the Madras High Court's emphatic answer.


Neither the judicial/metropolitan magistrates shall entertain any private complaints from corporate firms in this connection, nor shall the police register criminal cases against persons concerned to please their corporate complainants, said Chief Justice R Regupathi. Not stopping with that, the judge directed the high court's registrar (vigilance) to compile state-wide statistics on the number of private complaints lodged for these civil disputes, and the orders passed by the magistrates concerned.


Narrating the novel system adopted by private financial institutions/banks, the judge said they file private complaints before magistrates and secure an order directing the jurisdictional police to register a criminal case and carry out investigations under Section 156(3) of the CrPc. Despite the fact that the dispute is CIVIL in nature and the Police are under no obligation to register any case, police personnel contact the persons and intimidate them to repay the credit card payment or personal loan or hire-purchase amount due to the bank. Citing two specific cases that came up before him, Chief Justice R. Regupathi said in both cases though there was nothing to investigate, the magistrate concerned, "with oblique motive to convert a civil case into a criminal case," directed police to register a case and probe.


- Magistrates asked not to entertain private complaints.
- Police not to register criminal cases in such complaints.

- Erring magistrates warned of stringent action.

- HC registrar asked to compile statistics on number of private complaints.

- Also asked to report on the orders passed by the magistrates concerned.


 Also, kindly have a look of the below web-links (TIMES OF INDIA, 13th JULY, 2008):






Further, you may refer the below link as well (THE HINDU, Chennai, Friday, 22/08/08):


 3 Replies


It's an olden news but a golden news and a bold step in the right direction.

Pls read "Justice R.Reghupathi" in the place of "Chief Justice R.Reghupathi".

N.K.Assumi (Advocate)     08 September 2010

I was debating myself with this matters for a long time and its like a Heavenly Mana from above. Truly a Classic observations. I would appreciate if the said Judgment can be posted in my personal mail box here in LCI.

vijayan (lawyer)     08 September 2010

 please understand the Judgment correctly. Already there is a statute by which criminal action can be taken against the defaulter in bounced cheque matters and magistrates are empowered to entertain such cases as private complaint.  

In India, inefficiency to repay a loan availed in whatever way is not a crime and it will not attract criminal action.

But the act should be unintentional. Otherwise there are various provisions  to put the defaulter  in to the nest of crime, if there is ample proof.

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