Parents who won legal claim over their deceased son’s preserved semen a year ago are now in a bigger predicament.
The elderly couple from Angamaly had lost their 28-year-old son Ratheesh to pneumonia in January 2011. The couple came to the limelight when they approached the Lok Adalat seeking to retrieve their son’s semen preserved at a private hospital near here and the court ruled in their favour.
A private bank has issued them a legal notice to repay his educational loan or face action, including recovery.
The couple’s dream to have their own grandchild is yet to materialise following a financial crunch to ‘hire a womb’. Adding to the burden is the bank notice to repay a loan of Rs 3,63,902.
“We don’t know what to do. We have only a dilapidated house. The loan was taken for my son’s studies, hoping that we could repay it once he completes his sound engineering course in Chennai. But fate had something different in store for us. Now the bank has sent this notice,” said the perplexed parents, Ravi Kumar and Karthyayani. It was on June 29, 2009, that Ratheesh had taken a loan of `2,77,006 from UCO Bank, Angamaly branch. The loan was repayable in 84 instalments of `6,600 commencing from December 31, 2012. However, Ratheesh died of severe pneumonia in 2011. Meanwhile, the bank had begun the proceedings. It sent repeated reminders and in May 2012, the couple got the first legal notice stating that the outstanding loan amount as on April, 2012, was Rs 3,63,902.
The bank cautioned that ‘if the account is not regularised, it will have no option but to recover the loan amount’. Shocked by the notice, the couple approached the bank through their counsel, Advocate Aniyan P Vakkom. The then bank manager had assured them that he would try to drop the proceedings. However, one year later, the couple again got another notice on recovery.
Advocate Aniyan said according to a recent order of the Kerala High Court, banks cannot make parents liable for loans if the amount is less than `4 lakh. “The loan should have been granted to the student on his own application and that too without sureties of the parents. The bank should not have insisted for parents to sign the loan agreement. The parents should be excluded from the liability,” he pointed out. He pointed out that as per the loan agreement, ‘if anything unfortunate happens’ to the student during the course of the study, the family members would get the entire insurance amount after deducting the loan amount given. But the bank did not insure the student while granting the loan, he alleged. UCO Bank Angamaly branch manager Aloysius Augustine told ‘Express’ that the parents were liable to pay the loan amount as they were co-applicants.
“If they want to drop the proceedings, they should either approach the zonal office or give a representation to the District Collector seeking to write off the loan amount,” the manager said.