Hyderabad: Taking as a serious view of harassments of borrowers by lenders operating through loan apps, the Telangana High Court on Thursday directed the state’s Director-General of Police to take steps to block or delete the said lending apps from play stores and other platforms by approaching the officials concerned of the providers of these apps.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy also directed the DGP to take immediate and prompt steps to nab the culprits responsible for issuing instant loans to people through these instant online apps at exorbitant interest rates and directed the police to submit a status report by March 18, with all details of the action taken in this regard.
The Court was adjudicating a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Kalyan Dileep Sunkara, a practicing advocate of the High Court, seeking indulgence of the High Court in directing the state police to take immediate steps to stop organizers of instant lending online apps in the state because of constant harassment and blackmail tactics of these organizers, which has resulted in many people committing suicides.
This trend is continuing in Telangana, despite the police claims of having taken action against some, the petitioner contended.
The petitioner brought to the notice of the Court that lender apps went forward to harass in different ways, including creating a WhatsApp group with contacts of the borrower and projecting him or her as a cheater and defaulter, if a due amount calculated with usurious interest rates were not paid.
Even the photographs of borrowers were circulated on digital and social media, often targeting the friends and family of the person, which is in utter violation of the rules of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and also violated rules relating to end-to-end encryption of data, the petitioner submitted.
The Court further impleaded the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, Cyberabad, and Rachakonda as party respondents to the PIL and directed them to file a status report, including details on all online instant loan apps and persons operating through various call centers in their jurisdictional area, efforts taken by police to nab the culprits, action taken after arrest and the loss of lives owing to such harassment in the area of their jurisdiction....