Decided on September 01,2006



Arunabha Barua, J. (Chairperson) - (1.) THE matter relates to an application by an appellant under Order 33 of the CPC for exemption from paying the requisite appeal fees treating him as an indigent person.
(2.) THE long and short of the reasons that are made out to make this application for such exemption of fees is this. The applicant/appellant was a managing partner of a registered partnership firm namely, "North Bengal Pharmaceutical Works" and he is also a technically qualified entrepreneur. He started his business well being encouraged by the Directorate of Cottage and Small Scale Industries, Government of West Bengal, to set up this pharmaceutical unit of industry financed by the West Bengal Financial Corporation (term loan), the District Industries Centre, Malda (seed money) and State Bank of India (working capital). His business was a need -based fund small scale unit and he was to execute the Government orders within due time. It is alleged that due to deliberate negative attitude of respondent No. 1 -Bank for releasing the need based funds in spite of 100% security, the firm got blacklisted and penalized by confiscation of security deposit for non -execution of various orders by Government organizations which resulted in closing down of the said partnership business. It is further alleged that though with the help of District Industries Centre, Malda and higher authorities of the Cottage and Small Scale Industries, Government of West Bengal, the respondent No. 1 above named agreed to take the said partnership firm for rehabilitation under 'Nursing Programme', but ultimately the said programme became frustrated due to desperate refusal of reasonable, legitimate and need -based funds for smooth running of the said small scale unit, caused huge liability without recourse of payment resulting in closing down of the business. All these culminated in incurring huge loss and denting the goodwill of his business, also consequent mental distress and virtual starvation. The applicant was drained of all sources of his income and became an indigent person. The applicant has also a hefty counterclaim. He lives with his family and dependent on his only son who has only recently got a job. He has further stated that he has no immovable property of his own and only has some household movable articles worth Rs. 40,600/ - only. He is therefore, an indigent person having no means at all to pay the requisite fees on the appeal. On 5th April, 2005 the petitioner moved an application under Order 33 of CPC before the D.R.T. -II praying for exemption of the required fees to be paid for the counter claim he made against the Bank but that was rejected on 8th April, 2005 and the D.R.T. duly passed the judgment/certificate against the applicant/appellant. Being aggrieved against that the applicant has intended to file this appeal without the fees for reasons aforesaid. The petitioner has relied upon a judgment of the Supreme Court in A.A. Haja Muniuddin v. Indian Railways , in support of his case.
(3.) THE respondent -Bank has filed affidavit -in -opposition where it is mainly contended that the term "indigent person" does not find place in the RDDBFI Act of 1993 and Order 33 of CPC resorted to by petitioner is confined only, to "suit", that the petitioner did not earlier make any such application as an indigent person before the D.R.T. or before the Hon'ble High Court, that the petitioner -appellant is not at all an indigent person and he is required to pay a fee of Rs. 20,000/ - for filing this appeal.;

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