Decided on February 27,2004



K.S.Kumaran, - (1.) FIRST respondent-Punjab & Sind Bank (hereinafter referred to as 'the respondent-Bank') filed Civil Suit 894/92 on 4.3.1992 before the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi against appellant-Balbir Singh (6th defendant in the suit, and hereinafter referred to as 'the appellant/defendant') and respondents Nos. 2 to 7 in the appeal (defendants 1 to 5 and 7 in the suit) for the recovery of Rs. 1,33,27,264/-with interest and costs. On the passing of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') the said suit was transferred to the Debts Recovery Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as 'the DRT'), and was taken on its file as O.A. 266/96. The appellant/defendant had entered appearance through his Counsel-Mr. R.S. Sharma even before the Hon'ble High Court. On 30.10.1992 the respondent-Bank was directed to supply copies of the documents to the appellant/defendant within a week, and the appellant/defendant was directed to file his written statement within four weeks thereafter. The appellant/defendant had not filed the written statement even after the matter was taken up by the DRT on its file. On 23.11.2000 further time to file the written statement after inspecting the O.A. was requested on behalf of the appellant/defendant. The appellant/ defendant was granted last and final opportunity to file the written statement positively within four weeks from that date with direction that if the written statement is not filed within the stipulated time, the right of the appellant/defendant to file the written statement shall stand closed. The O.A. was adjourned to 1.3.2001. Still the written statement was not filed.
(2.) But, on 27.9.2001, the appellant/defendant filed an application, requesting the recall of above said order dated 23.11.2000. The appellant/defendant also prayed for a direction to the respondent-Bank to supply the full set of documents filed, and also to allow the appellant/defendant to file the written statement. This application was dismissed by the learned Presiding Officer of the DRT by the impugned order dated 28.9.2001 observing that the written statement was not filed even after a lapse of nine years from the date of suit, and therefore, the order dated 23.11.2000 was passed closing the right of the appellant/ defendant to file the written statement (since it was not filed within the stipulated time) that for nine years the issue of non-supply of documents was not raised by the appellant/ defendant and, therefore, there was no ground for recalling the order dated 23.11.2000. The learned Presiding Officer of the DRT, therefore, dismissed the said application with cost of Rs. 5,000/-. Aggrieved, the appellant/defendant has preferred this appeal. The 1st respondent-Bank, which is the contesting respondent, did not file any reply, but the learned Counsel for the respondent-Bank stated that he will advance arguments based upon the records.
(3.) I have heard the Counsel for both the sides, and perused the records.;

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