Motilal B.Naik, -
(1.) THIS appeal is directed against the order made by the DRT, Jaipur, on June 19, 2001, on an application filed under Section 19(7) of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, seeking issuance of recovery certificate enabling the applicant-bank, for pursuing appropriate remedy thereafter.
(2.) The State Bank of India instituted a suit for recovery of certain amounts on November 9, 1983, before the District Court at Alwar. A preliminary decree was passed on February 13, 1986, against the defendants with certain condition. However, when the conditions of preliminary decree were not complied with by the defendants, a final decree was passed on November 9, 1993. While so, the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 (for short "the RDB Act") came to be enacted, and pursuant to which the DRT was established at Jaipur, which started functioning from August 30, 1994. When the DRT at Jaipur started functioning, the applicant-bank moved an application before the said DRT under Section 19(7) of the RDB Act on May 21, 2000, seeking issuance of a recovery certificate on the basis of the final decree to enable the bank to pursue appropriate remedy. The DRT, by order dated June 19, 2001, rejected the said application on the ground of limitation, against which the present appeal has been filed on various grounds.
A few facts which are relevant for the purpose of taking appropriate decision in the appeal are recorded as under:
Though there are five respondents in the appeal, respondents Nos. 1, 2 and 4 were set ex-parte, having failed to appear before this Tribunal. Respondents Nos. 3 and 5, who are husband and wife, appeared in person and made their submissions. On behalf of the appellant, Mr. R. P. Vats, counsel, made elaborate submissions.
(3.) ACCORDING to learned counsel for the appellant, in terms of Section 31A of the RDB Act, which came into force with effect from January 17, 2000, when a decree or order is passed by any court before the commencement of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act, 2000 and such a decree or order has not yet been executed, then, the decree-holder may apply to the Tribunal to issue a recovery certificate for the amount covered under the decree. It is stated that though in the instant case the civil court had passed final decree on November 9, 1993, the decree remained unexecuted for some reason or other. However, on constitution of the DRT at Jaipur, an application was filed under Section 19(7) read with Section 31A of the Act, seeking issuance of the recovery certificate. Counsel contended that the said application was rejected by the Tribunal holding that seeking of such certificate is beyond the period of limitation. Counsel stated that as per the provisions of article 136 of the Limitation Act, 1963, for the execution of a decree other than a decree granting a mandatory injunction, the period of limitation is 12 years. When the final decree was passed on November 9, 1993, in normal circumstances the bank was entitled to take steps for execution of the decree before the competent civil court, but as a result of the constitution of the DRT's pursuant to the enactment of the RDB Act, the bank took a decision to seek recovery certificate from the DRT, for initiating further steps under the scheme of the RDB Act. Learned counsel stated that in terms of Article 136, for execution of the decree obtained by the bank 12 years of period is available, that the Tribunal committed an error holding that the period of limitation as three years as prescribed under Article 137 of the Limitation Act.;