Anti-SARFAESI Struggle- The SARFAESI Act is evicting vulnerable people from their lands

Reported by

Sooraj H SLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

April 5, 2021

Location of Conflict

Pathadippalam

Ernakulam

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Finance

Acquisition of land by Bank under the SARFAESI Act.

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

14753

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

19

ha

Starting Year

2002

State

Kerala

Sector

Industry

The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act of 2002, gives banks and financial institutions the autonomy to recover loans from defaulters, without assistance or interference from the court. The SARFAESI Act has nation wide application with each state differing in attitudes and actions towards it. The purpose of the act is to promote the setting up of asset reconstruction/securitisation companies to recover assets (Nonperforming assets (NPA)) from loan defaulters. the defaulters can be evicted and loose their land for a fraction of the value, through extra legal processes, under this act. The most vulnerable under this Act are the small land holders, such as Dalits, farmers, and single parent households. The Peoples Movement against SARFAESI Act started in Kerala, in 2013, after a series of cases where bank officials kept the land and property of the families as collateral and snatched it from families when they defaulted to recover the loan. P.J. Manuel, one of the leaders of the group says that the Act gives power to banks to decide on loan recovery and it robs poor peoples right to live. AntiSARFAESI protests consisted of 20 families in 2015, however, outrage over the SARFAESI act grew considerably after a drastic decline in farm yields which led to farmers across the state facing financial constraints. According Haritha Sena, a farmers organisation, as of June 2019, at least 14,753 farmers in Kerala, (8,370 in Wayanad, 4,452 in Thiruvananthapuram, 688 in Palakkad, and 606 farmers in Idukki, are facing the threat of eviction). In 2018, Banks started recovering loans given to over 700 cashew factories. The bankrupt factories laid workers rendering over 3 lakh workers jobless. Though there are certain provisions in the Act to ensure good practice, reports have suggested that these are not followed, but ignored by banks/ financial institutions with impunity. Families have succumbed to pressures due to owed debts. In May, 2019, a mother and daughter died by suicide, in Neyyatinkara, Kerala, after the deadline to repay their housing loan expired. In July, 2019, Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi raised the issue in front of Kerala government. He also accused the Centre of refusing to direct the Reserve Bank of India to implement the moratorium announced by the state government. The government of Kerala announced that it would take steps to write off loan dues of up to Rs 2 lakh of farmers and to stop banks from initiating proceedings against loan defaulters under the SARFAESI Act. The moratorium on farm loans recovery is set to end on December 31, 2019.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for better access to common land/resources

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

7

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land

Legal Status:

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Four people were arrested on their way home – Vijeesh, Jayakumar, Prakash, Nicey. The police claim that public property was damaged due to a fire that broke out on the street when everyone poured petrol over themselves and on the street. On July 14, 2018. Lathi charge left activists injured and had to be hospitalised.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Development of a network or collective action , Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

HDFC Bank Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Various Political Parties in Kerala

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Sooraj H S

Reviewed By

Sooraj H S

Updated By

Sooraj H S

Edited By

Sooraj H SLand Conflict Watch
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