Ganga, Gomti, Supreme Court and a litigant

New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) Chief Justice T.S. Thakur was taken by surprise on Friday when in response to a suggestion that instead of coming to the Supreme Court, the litigant should go to the high court, the latter said that “I am standing on the bank of Ganga for a holy dip and am being asked to go to river Gomti in Lucknow”.

A PIL petitioner Mahendra Pratap Singh — a senior citizen and resident of Mainpuri district in Uttar Pradesh — who appeared in person to argue his case, sought the apex court’s intervention after his request for loan under reverse mortgage against his property was declined by two public sector banks.

Seeking the intervention of the court, Singh told the bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that while women and children have several rights under the law, yet more benefits are being given to them, but no one is concerned about the plight of senior citizens.

As the petitioner was telling the court about the hardships being faced by him, Chief Justice Thakur asked him as to why does he not approach the high court instead of coming to Delhi again and again.

“Manyavar, main Ganga kinare khara hun, Ganga-sanan ke liya, aur aap keh rahe hain ki main Gomti chala jaun,” Singh told the bench leaving the court room in a spurt of laughter.

An apparently stumped Chief Justice issued notice to the central government, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and two PSU banks on his PIL, as Singh told the court that he does not mind coming to the apex court any number of times.

In 2008, the scheme of reverse mortgage loan was introduced for senior citizens in view of their needs of proper health care and other day-to-day expenses.

Under the scheme, a borrower can convert his investment in a home into lump sum periodic payments.

As per the provision, a borrower to avail the loan has to mortgage his house in favour of the lending institution or bank by executing certain documents, including the will of the borrower.

The petitioner has urged the court to issue directions to the central government and the RBI to conduct an inquiry into all the lending institutions for slow implementation of the scheme and into the allegations of bribery.

He has also sought further directions to the Centre and the RBI to make the banking system for senior citizens more consumer-friendly, so that applications for loan are decided in a time-bound manner.

–IANS

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