HYDERABAD: Taking a serious view of online instant loan apps harassing borrowers, the Telangana High Court on Thursday directed the State Director General of Police (DGP) to take steps to arrest the guilty and block such apps immediately.
Several cases have been reported in the recent past of loan app firms verbally abusing and threatening customers in Telangana to repay installments at exorbitant interest rates ranging from 150 to 450 per cent on a weekly and fortnightly basis.
Amid this, a division bench of the High Court directed the DGP and the Police Commissioners of Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda to file status reports on such cases. It also issued notices to the Centre and State government to file a counter-affidavit.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, passed this order in the PIL filed by advocate S Kalyan Dileep. The PIL had sought direction to the Centre and State government to forthwith ban all illegal instant loan apps.
The PIL had also sought court directions to shut all kinds of unauthorised call centre operations in Telangana. According to the petitioner-advocate, the apps work hand in hand like a chain of instant loan lending groups. They blackmail customers with their personal photos and contact list which they procure by accessing their phone galleries without following end-to-end encryption rules.
Using such unethical methods, they drive people to suicide. Several youngsters have lost their lives because of this.The petitioner has sought court directions to the authorities concerned to ban such apps under Section 69-A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
After hearing the case, the bench said immediate action should be taken against those charging high interest rates and for harassing borrowers. It directed the DGP to file a status report on loan app cases filed across the State and the three Police Commissioners to file their affidavits separately.
The bench issued notices to the respondents — Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs, State Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary to Home and DGP — for filing a counter affidavit within four weeks. It posted the matter to March 18.