Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

Bank Loan Default by a Farmer

Mukesh is a well-to-do farmer. He has two daughters and they are of marriageable age. He has to marry one of his daughters immediately since she is already twenty-five years old. He, however, does not have adequate money to pay the dowry. One of his friends suggests that he takes a bank loan for the purpose of farming and use the money to pay the dowry. He said that government is likely to waive off all the farm loans before the elections; and hence, he need not worry about repaying the loan. Mukesh took a large bank loan for farming and used the money to marry his daughter by paying a handsome dowry. However, no such loan waiver scheme was announced by the government. Soon after, the bank sent him a notice when he started defaulting on the payment of the loan instalments. However, he has no money now to pay the loans. After a couple of days, bank officials—along with the police—come to the village and attached his property. Mukesh could not bear the humiliation and committed suicide. His family was devastated. His wife filed a complaint against the bank and accused them of killing her husband.
1. What were the mistakes committed by Mukesh?
2. Can the bank officers be held responsible for the death of Mukesh? Give reasons.
 
Discussion
 
Waiving of farm loan has become a regular phenomenon in India. Many political parties promise farm loan waivers before the elections to get the votes of farmers. Many farmers expect the loan waiver and misuse the loan for other purposes. However, people also know that politicians usually don’t fulfil the promises made during elections. Hence, Mukesh should not have taken the farm loan for paying dowry. His assumption about the loan waiver turned out to be wrong. He should not have heeded the advice of the friend, and should have used his own mind and reasoning before taking the loan and using the same for marrying his daughter. He should have also planned for a situation where the government would fail to announce the loan waiver. His act of committing suicide was an act of cowardice; it was also unethical since he left his family in a lurch, and failed to fulfil the responsibility of a husband and a father.
 
Banks are in the business of giving loans and accepting deposits. They are under obligation to return the money of their depositor with the promised interest. The same money is loaned by banks to the people with higher rate of interest so that they can repay the deposits and also make some profit in the process. If people refuse to pay loan, banks can’t pay back to their depositors. Hence, bank officers are justified in going ahead with the recovery proceedings against the defaulters.
 
However, bank officers must follow all due procedures before holding property. They can’t be charged for murder if they had been doing their duty according to the law and following the procedures. They can be faulted only if they have violated the rules and procedures. However, such violations would not amount to murder.
Bank Loan Default by a Farmer
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