The Calcutta High Court has quashed a complaint against the debt manager of ICICI Bank, emphasizing that authorized officers cannot be criminally charged for working in accordance with the law and for recovering dues from the defaulters. The Court noted that the actions of the Petitioner were appropriate and authorized as per the guidelines laid down by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The Bench of Justice Shampa Dutt (Paul) noted, “If every Authorised Officer of a bank/institution has to face criminal charges leveled by a defaulter, for acting in accordance with law, then it is clearly an abuse of the process of law and such proceeding should not be allowed to continue in the interest of justice”.

Advocate Dipanjan Dutt appeared for the Petitioner before the Court.

The Petitioner was an employee of the ICICI Bank as debt managed under the personal loan department. The Complainant was one of the customers who signed up for a credit card but regularly neglected payments of the dues. The Petitioner allegedly trespassed into the Complainant's house and demanded extortion money. The Petitioner also abused the Complainant and fled away when neighbours arrived at the scene.

The Complainant filed a case before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate against the Petitioner for allegedly conspiring, abusing and extorting him under sections 447, 448, 384, 504, 509, 506 and 34 sections of the Indian Penal Code. Thereafter, the Petitioner filed a Revision Petition before the High Court seeking to quash the Complaint against him.

The Cour noted that the complainant had admitted his dues. His defence was financial crisis and high extra charges, such as overdue charges, over limit charge, late fee etc. etc.

Furthermore, the Court held -

"The said act of the petitioner is part of his job and the time of going to the petitioner's house is also appropriate. Considering the time to be 2pm, it is apparent that the petitioner did not intend to act in an unlawful manner."

The Court additionally observed, "The outstanding dues of the complainant is admitted. Thus, the conduct of the petitioner was in due course of his official duty and he has been empowered to do so as per RBI Guidelines."

Accordingly, the Court quashed the proceedings against the Petitioner and allowed the revision Petition.

Cause Title: Tushar Manna v. Ananda Sarkar

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