Bombay High Court Grants Relief to Advocate by allowing Removal of his name from Indian Banks’ Caution List

LI Network

Published on: February 18, 2024 at 15:24 IST

The Bombay High Court has granted relief to Advocate Shailesh Vishwanath Jambhale, allowing the removal of his name from the “caution list” maintained by the Indian Banks’ Association.

The Court, headed by a Division Bench comprising A.S. Chandurkar and Justice Jitendra Jain, emphasized that the advocate’s placement on the caution list lacked elements of fraud, and his removal is justified.

Jambhale had filed a writ petition seeking redress against the Indian Banks’ Association’s action of placing him on the caution list.

The Court, in its judgment, stated, “… the action of Respondent No.2 in placing the Petitioner on ‘Caution List’ is liable to be quashed since there is no element of fraud involved even according to the Respondent Nos.1 and 2 coupled with the fact that the Petitioner is sought to be held negligent disregarding the opinion expressed by him in the title search reports. The Respondent Nos.1 and 2 would thus be required to delete the name of the Petitioner from the said ‘Caution List.'”

The central issue before the Bench was whether the advocate could be deemed negligent to warrant inclusion in the caution list.

Advocate Vilas B. Tapkir represented Jambhale, while Advocate Abhijeet Joshi appeared for the respondents.

The case stemmed from Jambhale’s role as a Panel Advocate for the State Bank of Hyderabad, later merged with State Bank of India (SBI).

He was assigned the task of obtaining Search and Title Reports for properties earmarked for loan sanction. In 2014, three such reports were submitted to the SBI General Manager, leading to the approval of a loan. However, a subsequent discovery of fraud related to the sanctioned loan prompted an inquiry.

In response to a show cause notice regarding alleged lapses in furnishing the Title and Search Report, Jambhale denied the allegations. In 2018, the Chief Execution Officer of the Indian Banks’ Association placed Jambhale’s name on the caution list, following association guidelines.

The Court noted that the reasons for placing Jambhale on the list were the responsibility of SBI officials, as per the guidelines, and could not be shifted to the advocate.

The Court observed, “If subsequently, title deeds are found to be faked, then the Petitioner cannot be held to be negligent since based on a perusal of the report, he can be said to have taken reasonable care and due diligence in discharging his duties.” It highlighted the guidelines that mandate independent inspection of mortgaged properties by branch officials.

Additionally, the Court considered the advocate’s eight-year ordeal and his statement expressing a lack of desire to be empanelled on the bank’s panel.

Citing the decision in Rajan Shrivallabha Deshpande, the Court deemed it too harsh to keep Jambhale on the caution list indefinitely and ordered his removal.

Case Title: Shailesh Vishwanath Jambhale v. The General Manager, State Bank of India & Ors., with the Neutral Citation: 2024:BHC-AS:4317-DB.

Related Post