(1.) HEARD Counsel and perused the records.
This appeal is directed against the order dated 26.8.2003 passed by the learned Presiding Officer of the Debts Recovery Tribunal, Chandigarh (hereinafter referred to as 'the DRT') declining the request of the appellant herein to be impleaded as a party to the O.A. 817/2000 pending before the said DRT. The learned Counsel for the appellant contends that the 2nd respondent herein, namely, M/s. Everest Woollen Mills, is a defendant before the DRT, which consisted of two partners, namely, respondents 3 and 4 in this appeal. He contends that this partnership continued till 31.3.1991 and on 1.4.1991 the appellant company was inducted as a partner. He also contends that a partnership deed dated 2.4.1991 had also been executed to be effective from 1.4.1991, and that due intimation to this effect was also given to the respondent Bank by letter dated 3.4.1991. The learned Counsel for the appellant also points out that the fact that the appellant had become a partner has also been mentioned by the respondent Bank itself in its letter dated 27.11.1991. He also points out that the appellant has also been making payments to the respondent Bank as mentioned in page 6 of this appeal, wherein details of the payments have also been given. The learned Counsel for the appellant further contends that on 31.3.1992 the appellant company took over all the assets and liabilities of the 2nd respondent partnership firm, and due intimation thereof was given to the Registrar of Companies and Income-tax authorities. He also contends that the appellant had also filed civil suit against the 2nd respondent Bank and others on 19.4.1992 before the Senior Sub-Judge, Ludhiana claiming certain reliefs, and the Bank filed the suit before the Senior Sub-Judge, Ludhiana on 20.4.1992 for the recovery of the amount allegedly due to it, which was subsequently transferred to the DRT, Jaipur and then to DRT, Chandigarh in the year 2000. The learned Counsel for the appellant points out that it is in these circumstances the appellant had filed an application dated 3.10.2001 before the DRT, Chandigarh for getting itself impleaded as a party. The learned Counsel for the appellant points out that the respondent Bank had not filed any reply to this application filed by the appellant for getting itself impleaded as a party.
(2.) Even before this Tribunal, the respondent Bank did not any reply. The learned Counsel for the respondent Bank stated that the respondent Bank does not wish to file any reply, and that this application may be allowed, subject to certain costs, since, according to him the 3rd respondent, who was the partner of the firm, is also a director of the appellant-company, and the conversion of the partnership into a company is intended only to delay the proceedings. He also points out that the right of the 2nd respondent firm to file the written statement was closed by the learned Presiding Officer of the DRT, against which an appeal was filed before this Tribunal, wherein this Tribunal directed that opportunity to the 2nd respondent firm to file written statement should be afforded, with a further direction to the 2nd respondent to pay a cost of Rs. 25,000/- taking into consideration the fact that the matter was pending from 1992 onwards. He, therefore, contends that the intention of the appellant is only to delay the proceedings. That is why the learned Counsel for the respondent Bank stated that this appeal can also be allowed directing the impleadment of the appellant as a party, subject to the right of the respondent Bank to take all the pleas open to it to be taken before the DRT and subject to the payment of costs.
But, in my view, in view of what has been pointed out, there is no need to impose costs. The right of the appellant to get itself impleaded as a party cannot be denied or rejected inasmuch as the appellant's contention is that it has taken/over the assets and liabilities of the 2nd respondent firm, against whom the O.A. was filed. Therefore, the appellant, which has taken over the assets and liabilities of the 2nd respondent-firm, is certainly a necessary and proper party and, therefore, the appeal has to be allowed setting aside the impugned order, and allowing the request of the appellant to be made a party. However, in view of the fact that the O.A. has been pending from 1992 onwards, the learned Presiding Officer of the DRT is directed to complete all the formalities, and dispose of the O.A. itself with expedition, within three months from today.
(3.) ACCORDINGLY, the appeal is allowed. The impugned order dated 26.8.2003 is set aside. The application filed by the appellant for being impleaded as a party is allowed. The appellant is ordered to be impleaded as defendant in the O.A. The respondent Bank shall take steps to amend the O.A., and the appellant shall file the additional written statement, if any within three weeks from today. As directed earlier, the O.A. itself shall be disposed of within three months, after affording opportunity to both sides to put forward their cases.;