Decided on June 28,2004



Ronojit Kumar Mitra, - (1.) THE Bank has preferred the above appeal on June 11, 2004 against an order dated March 19, 2004 made by the learned Presiding Officer Debts Recovery Tribunal-1, Kolkata hereinafter referred to as "the DRT". On March 27, 2004 the Bank duly submitted the necessary requisition to obtain the certified copy of the impugned order, and received it on June 4, 2004. THE facts of the case in short were, that in spite of closing of evidence and hearing, in the Bank's claim petition, and the matter being adjourned for delivery of judgment, the DRT had entertained an application which was moved by the respondents on the date fixed for the delivery of judgment and allowed the respondents to furnish further documents and additional evidence on affidavit.
(2.) It was argued by Advocate for the Bank, that the impugned order was contrary to and in violation of the provisions of Rule 28 of the Debts Recovery Tribunal Regulations of Practice 1997 (DRT Regulations of Practice) read with Section 22(2)(b) of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 (the Act) and the provisions of Order XIII, Rule 1 of Code of Civil Procedure (CPC). He relied on a decision reported in AIR 1966 AP 295, and submitted that there was a difference in the law applicable in circumstances where the evidence was closed and where the matter had been adjourned upon reserving judgment. He contended, that the DRT violated the principles of law and natural justice, and that the impugned order should be set aside. There were more than one occasion it was submitted by Advocate for the respondents, when the DRT had allowed the Bank's prayers and the Bank had filed documents, even after it had been recorded that the parties had closed their evidence. According to him the principles of natural justice demanded that the indulgence enjoyed by the Bank could not be denied to the respondents, and that the DRT had rightly allowed the prayer of the respondents. He submitted, that an application made by the respondents under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was pending before the DRT, and that it would appear from the records that the respondents had disclosed diverse documents in evidence. According to him the impugned order was, in those circumstances, just and proper and the appeal should be dismissed.
(3.) RULE 28 of the DRT Regulations of Practice, 1997 provides, that "summoning, discovery and production of documents shall be regulated by Section 22 of the Act read with the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 (5 of 1908), as amended from time to time." The DRT has been empowered under Section 22(2)(b) of the Act to require the discovery and production of documents in the same manner as provided in Order XIII, RULE 1 of the CPC, where it has been clearly provided that "original documents shall be produced at or before the settlement of issues by the parties or their pleader in original where the copies thereof were filed along with the plaint or the written statement". Undeniable the evidence of the parties had closed, the arguments were compete and the matter had been adjourned upon reserving judgment to be delivered on March 19, 2004. It would appear from the records that though the respondents were represented by Advocates all through the proceedings, the respondents did not care to file any document or evidence on affidavit, nor was any prayer made on their behalf in that respect. There was no scope for any exercise of discretion by the adjudicating authority and to take any other view in the matter other than what was clearly laid down in the law mentioned herein above.;

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