Decided on November 30,2006



K. Gnanaprakasam, J. (Chairperson) - (1.) THIS Miscellaneous Appeal is directed as against the order dated 11.10.2006 in MA -295/2005 in OA -450/2000 passed by the DRT -I at Chennai.
(2.) THE appellants and the respondent bank have settled their claim before the Lok Adalat, and an award was passed by the Lok Adalat on 10.9.2004 permitting the appellants to pay the amounts on or before 10.12.2004 with certain conditions, and the appellants were not able to pay the amounts within the stipulated date, and had approached the bank to extend the time fixed by the Lok Adalat, and the bank had extended the time till 20.1.2005. Even, within the said time, the appellants could not pay the amount. But, however, they paid a sum of Rs. 3 lakh on 8.2.2005. As the entire amount was not paid, DRC was issued on 21.10.2005, and thereafter the appellants have filed three applications, (1) for extension of time to comply with the award of the Lok Adalat, (2) to condone the delay of 320 days in filing the petition for extension of time, and (3) for stay of recovery proceedings. The application to condone the delay in MA -295/2005 came to be dismissed by the DRT by its order dated 11.10.2006. Aggrieved by the same, the appellants have preferred his appeal. I have heard the learned Advocate for the appellants and the respondent bank. The original application filed by the respondent bank for the recovery of the amount was referred to Lok Adalat, wherein the parties have settled the matter, which resulted in passing of an award on 10.9.2004, is not in dispute. The terms of the award runs as follows: The parties have settled the matters on the following terms and conditions: (1) The defendants agree to settle both the matters for a sum of Rs. 34.5 lakh; (2) The defendants agree to pay the said amount on or before 10.12.2004 with PLR interest. If the defendants pay the entire amount on or before 11.10.2004, the said amount shall not carry any interest. If the defendants fail to pay the entire amount as per the above compromise, the bank is at liberty to claim the entire claim amount as per O.A. 450/2000, without reference to this compromise. The appellants could not pay the amount within the stipulated time. The appellants have approached the respondent bank for extension of time to pay the amount, and the respondent bank extended the time up to 20.1.2005. But, the appellants were not able to pay the amount within the said time also. But, however, the appellants had paid Rs. 3 lakh as part payment on 8.2.2005. As the appellants have not paid the amount within time, DRC was issued to recover the entire amount. The appellants have approached the DRT for extension of time.
(3.) THE point for consideration is whether the Courts/Tribunal are empowered to enlarge the time granted by the Lok Adalat for the payment of the award amount.;

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