Decided on July 20,2004



Ronojit Kumar Mitra, - (1.) THIS appeal has been preferred from an order dated 25th June, 2004, made by the learned Presiding Officer, DRT-(l), Kolkata, hereinafter referred to as "the DRT" An application was made for waiver of the statutory deposit under Section 21 of the RDDBFI Act, 1993, hereinafter referred to as "the Act", The impugned order was an interlocutory order and the claim-petition was pending disposal before the DRT. In that view of the matter, the application was superfluous and is accordingly dismissed.
(2.) I have heard the Counsel for the parties, and perused the impugned order including the pleadings. I find no reason to interfere with the findings of the learned Presiding Officer in the order dated 20th January, 2004, except the denial of an opportunity to the appellant to cross-examine the witness for the Bank. Such denial would, in my view, tantamount to a violation of the principles of natural justice. Indeed, Advocate on behalf of the appellant had submitted that he did not wish to cross-examine the witness for the Bank, but at the same time, it was significant that, adducing of evidence by the parties had not been closed. In other words, there was non, nor could be any reason to deprive the appellant of an opportunity to cross-examine the Bank's witness. In those circumstances, I am inclined to hold that the appellant cannot be shut out from conducting cross-examination of the Bank's witness, as otherwise the appellant shall be denied the opportunity to substantiate its case in accordance with law. Such opportunity, the adjudicating authority was empowered to grant anytime before the hearing of the case was concluded and judgment reserved. Denial to the appellant would be violative of the principles of natural justice. The circumstances, in the instant case warranted an opportunity to be given to the appellants as prayed for. In the process however, the appellant has wasted valuable time of the DRT, and the Bank has been put to uncalled for expenditure in litigation. The appellant, it was submitted by Counsel, was agreeable to pay such costs as may be deemed fit by this Appellate Tribunal.
(3.) FOR those reasons, the appeal and the stay application are disposed of by modifying the impugned order to the extent that the DRT shall allow the appellants to cross-examine the Bank's witness, who had been produced on 20th January, 2004. Save as the above modification, I do not interfere with any portion of the impugned order. The appellants shall pay costs of this appeal reasonably assessed at Rs. 5, 100/- to the Advocate for the Bank on or before 28th July, 2004.;

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