A Delhi Court reprimanded the State Bank of India (SBI) for attempting to collect Rs. 13.5 lakhs from a deceased individual who had passed away two years prior.
The court asserted, “In the present case, pursuant to Order 7 Rule 11 CPC, the suit stands to be dismissed to the extent that, under Indian law, a deceased person cannot be sued.”
Siya Nand, the defendant in the case, had passed away two years before the SBI filed the lawsuit. The bank was unaware of Nand’s passing at the time of filing the suit.
Justice Surinder Rathi’s court also advised bank officials to utilize the national births and deaths database to confirm whether the individual they were seeking funds from was alive or deceased. The court referenced a similar oversight by the Punjab National Bank, which had also sued a deceased individual two years after their death.
The court emphasized that the SBI, being India’s leading nationalized bank, should serve as a “torchbearer of efficiency, professionalism, transparency, and ethics” for other institutions.
Acknowledging its error, the SBI informed the court that disciplinary action would be taken against the negligent bank official for non-compliance. The bank also accepted the court’s recommendation and stated that its officials would endeavor to obtain access to the births and deaths database.