HC notice on plea against law provision protecting women from arrest

New Delhi, Jan 8 : The Delhi High Court on Monday sought response from the Centre and the Law Commission on a plea seeking quashing of Code of Civil Procedure’s Section 56, which prohibits arrest or detention of women who default in paying their dues on the ground that it violates the constitutional principle of equality.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar, issuing notice to the Law and Justice Ministry and the Law Commission, sought their response by February 6.

The plea filed by Anil Kumar, working in a non-banking finance company, sought direction that section 56 be declared ultra vires as it violates 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.

Advocate Kamlesh Kumar, appearing for the petitioner, told the bench that the section gives “unequal and unreasonable protection” though the person being a female is wrong and defaulter and on the top of that is misusing this provision.

The petition said that so many banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) are providing people finance facilities and personal loans as these banks and NBFCs are protected under the Constitution’s Article 19 (g).

He added that now it has become fashionable “that people, by taking advantage of Section 56 of the Code of Civil Procedure, are intentionally cheating and causing wrongful loss to the banks and NBFCs by not replaying vehicles, property or personal loans”.

“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 they are protected by section 56 and no recovery of money could be effected without fear of arrest or detention.”