A division of the Delhi High Court bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar on Monday (Jan 8) issued a notice to the Centre and Law Commission seeking their stand on Section 56. The Code of Civil Procedure’s Section 56 outlaws imprisonment of women defaulters who delay in paying their dues.

“These women are taking an undue advantage of Section 56 due to its discrimination. Women defaulters are well aware that Section 56 protects them and we cannot recover money without fear of arrest or detention”

A non-banking finance company professional, Anil Kumar, filed a plea through advocate Kamlesh Kumar in the HC against Section 56 on the basis of it breaching Articles 14 (equality before law) and 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) of the Indian Constitution.

Kumar told the judges that the law gives undue advantage to women defaulters as they deny or take enormous time to pay up their dues. He also added that women defaulters abuse this law in their favour.

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“Women have been taking loans in personal capacity and for the recovery of money. Banks and NBFCs have to spend a lot of money in filing the civil proceedings against the defaulters…

These women are taking an undue advantage of Section 56 due to its discrimination. Women defaulters are well aware that Section 56 protects them and we cannot recover money without fear of arrest or detention,” said Kumar.

The petition noted that since Article 19 (g) of the Indian Constitution protects so many banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFC), they are able to provide financial facilities and personal loans to people. But the fact that Section 56 prohibits arrest of women, it has become a trend “that people are intentionally cheating and causing wrongful loss to the banks and NBFCs by not repaying vehicles, property or personal loans.”

Gender equality is a must when it comes to legal proceedings. A person’s gender should not protect them from punishment after causing nuisance. Hence, it is of utmost importance to tweak laws to bring parity.

Picture credit- NDTV

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