R G S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LTD Vs. FEDERAL BANK LTD
DEBTS RECOVERY APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
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(1.) HEARD Counsel, and perused the records. This appeal has been presented against the impugned Order dated 15.7.2004 passed by the learned Presiding Officer of the Debts Recovery Tribunal-I, Delhi (hereinafter referred to as 'the DRT') dismissing the application LA. 826/2004 filed on behalf of the appellant-defendants to direct the return of the O.A. for presentation to the Tribunal exercising the jurisdiction over Noida (Uttar Pradesh).
(2.) The respondent-Federal Bank (hereinafter referred to as 'the respondent-bank') filed O.A. 103/2001 before the DRT for the recovery of the money stated to be due to it. In paragraph 16 of the O.A. the respondent-bank has alleged about the creation of an equitable mortgage in its favour in respect of an immovable property at Noida. The respondent-bank has also made a prayer in the O. A. for the sale of the said property for the realisation of the amount stated to he due to it. The learned Counsel for the appellants contends that Section 16 of the Civil Procedure Code provides that a suit for sale of the .mortgaged immovable property shall be instituted in the Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the property is situated, and, therefore, the O.A should have been filed before the Competent Court which has jurisdiction over Noida where the mortgaged property is situated. But, Section 22 of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') provides that the DRT shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Civil Procedure Code. Of course, the learned Counsel for the appellants contends that the procedure prescribed in the Code of Civil Procedure is only based upon the principles of natural justice, and in support of his contention he relies upon the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Sangram Singh v. Election Tribunal, AIR 1955 SC 425. He also relics upon the decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Allahabad Bank v. Radha Krishna Maity, (1996) 6 Supreme Court Cases 755 and Industrial Credit & Investment Corporation of India Ltd. v. Grapco Industries Ltd., II (1999) BC 313 (SC)= V (1999) SLT 310 = (1999) 4 Supreme Court Cases 710, and contends that the Debts Recovery Tribunal need not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Civil Procedure Code, but, it does not, at the same time, mean that it will not have jurisdiction to exercise the power of the Court as contained in the Civil Procedure Code. He also contends that the Debts Recovery Tribunal can even travel beyond the Code of Civil Procedure, but the only fetter would be that it should observe the principles of natural justice. But; these decisions relate to the extent of power of the Debts Recovery Tribunal to pass Order in accordance with the principles of natural justice, and not with regard to the territorial or pecuniary jurisdiction of the Debts Recovery Tribunal. Therefore, these decisions will not help the appellants.
But, Section 19 of the Act provides that a bank or financial institution can make an application to the Tribunal within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the defendant or any of the defendants actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain at the time of making the application, or where the cause of action arose, either whole or in part.
(3.) THEREFORE, if the defendant or any of the defendants resides within the local limits of a particular DRT, then the bank or financial institution can file the O.A. before that Tribunal in view of the provisions contained in Section 19 of the Act. In the O.A. the respondent-bank has given the address of the office of the first defendant as at B-381, New Friends Colony, New Delhi, and the residential addresses of the defendants 2 to 4 also as the same. Though in paragraph 5 of I.A. 826/2004 filed on behalf of the appellants before the DRT it has been stated that none of the defendants actually and/or voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain within the local limits of the DRT at Delhi, there is no mention as to where they reside. So, this denial without any details asto where they actually reside will not be of any avail. Of course, in another paragraph of the said application it has been stated that from the O.A. itself it is apparent that their address is A-16, Sector-6, Noida (U.P.). But, it has not been stated that any of the defendants resides there. In the O.A. the residential addresses of the defendants 2 to 4 have not been stated to be A-16, Sector 6, Noida (U.P.). It is the address of the factory of the 1st defendant-company.;
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