Decided on November 21,2003



A.Subbulakshmy, - (1.)ORDER was passed by the PO, DRT, Ernakulam on 13.3.2001 and the Original Application (OA) was decreed. Aggrieved against the ORDER passed in the OA the defendants preferred appeal before this Appellate Tribunal in appeal URA-31/2001 challenging the ORDER dated 13.3.2001 passed by the PO. DRT, Ernakulam. In that appeal, ORDER was passed under Section 21 of the RDDB & FI Act, 1993, directing the defendants to deposit Rs. 2 crores on or before 15.5.2002 failing which the appeal shall stand rejected. The defendants took the matter in CRP No. 1032/2002 before the High Court of Madras and the CRP was dismissed holding that the discretionary jurisdiction exercised by the Appellate Tribunal is not liable to be interfered with. The defendants again took the matter on the ORDER passed by the High Court to the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Special Leave Petitions SLP (C) Nos. 649/2003 and 650/2003 and the SLPs were dismissed. As it is, the ORDER passed by this Appellate Tribunal under Section 21 of the Act was confirmed by the Supreme Court.
(2.)The defendants also filed petitions to set aside the ex parte Order before the DRT, Ernakulam, and they moved for stay before the DRT, Ernakulam, on 9.1.2003. On 9.1.2003, the PO, DRT, Ernakulam, passed Order grantjng stay subject to the condition that the defendants deposit Rs. 1 crore with the Bank in two months time. The Order passed by the PO, DRT, was also not complied with. So, Counsel for the appellant Bank now represents that the delay condonation petition and the petition to set aside the exparte Order have been dismissed. But the PO, DRT, has ordered for continuation of the stay on the basis of the Stay Order of this Appellate Tribunal.
Counsel for the appellant Bank submits that when the conditional Order passed by the PO, DRT, was not complied with, the stay automatically came to be vacated and when the PO, DRT, has dismissed the petitions to condone the delay as well as to set aside the ex parte Order, the Order passed by the PO, DRT, ordering continuance of the stay is not proper and that Order has to be set aside. The PO, DRT, has passed only conditional Order granting stay on deposit of Rs, 1 crore and that amount of Rs. 1 crore was not deposited. So, the stay granted by the PO, DRT, gets automatically vacated.

(3.)COUNSEL for the respondents submitted that only an exparte Order was passed by the PO, DRT, and the respondents are entitled to challenge the ex parte Order to avail natural justice and by applying the principles of natural justice the Order passed by the PO, DRT, has to be reconsidered and opportunity must be given to the respondents to put forth their case. He further submitted that even though the defendants were represented by COUNSEL and as the defendants were not heard, the defendants must be given opportunity to put forth their case and they must be given opportunity to argue their case.

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