Motilal B.Naik, -
(1.) THIS appeal is against an order made in LA. 534/2001 by the DRT-I, Delhi on 16.9.2002.
(2.) When this appeal was taken up for consideration, Registry pointed out that as required under Rule 8 of the Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1994 (hereinafter referred to as 'the DRAT Rules'), the requisite Court-fees has not been paid by the appellant, and, therefore, the appeal cannot be entertained without payment of requisite Court-fees. It is noticed that the appellant has paid a Court-fees of Rs. 10/- only. It is also noticed that prior to the amendment to the Debts Recovery Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1993 (hereinafter referred to as 'the DRT Rules'), which came into effect from 21.1.2003, when an appeal is filed before this Tribunal under Section 20 against an order passed by the Tribunal below in a Miscellaneous Application, a Court-fees of Rs. 10/- used to be collected by the Registry of this Tribunal. However, pursuant to the amendment, as indicated above, the Registry started to collect Rs. 250/- towards Court-fees. This has led to lot of confusion as to the Court-fees to be paid when an appeal is filed before this Tribunal against an order passed by the Tribunal below in a miscellaneous application. In order to set at rest the controversy, this Tribunal made an endeavour, inviting the members of the Bar to address on this aspect. On behalf of the Bar, Mr. Rajeeve Mehra, Mr. M.C. Kochhar, Mr. S.L. Gupta, Mr. Shailen Bhatia, Mr. R.K. Trakru and Mr. Mukul Chandra and a few other Advocates advanced their viewpoints.
It is submitted by Mr. Rajeeve Mehra, Mr. S.L. Gupta, Mr. M.C. Kochhar and others who mostly represent non-financial institutions/Banks, that though under Rule 8 of the DRAT Rules fees is required to be paid on the basis of amount of debt due, when the claim made by the financial institution/Bank is pending adjudication before the Tribunal below, if an order passed by the Tribunal below on an interlocutory matter is challenged before this Tribunal, Court-fees of only Rs. 250/- need be paid, which is under the provisions of the DRT Rules. Counsel stated that in the absence of any determination, where debt due is not determined, insistence of Court-fees in terms of Rule 8 of the DRAT Rules is unwarranted. Counsel also drew my attention to the DRAT Rules and stated that when a miscellaneous appeal is filed, under the DRAT Rules no fee is prescribed and, therefore, insistence of Court-fees in terms of Rule 8 of the DRAT is impermissible. While drawing my attention to the provisions of Section 2(g), Section 19 and Section 20 of the Act and rules made under DRAT Rules, all the Counsel submitted that in a case where a particular amount is found due, when appeal is filed under Section 20 of the Act against that determination, the appellant is liable to pay the requisite Court-fees in terms of Rule 8, and also make the pre-deposit as provided under Section 21 of the Act. Counsel stated that when claim is made before the Tribunal by a Bank or financial institution, after adjudication as provided under Sub-section (20) of Section 19, the Tribunal determines the amount due to the financial institution. However, when miscellaneous applications/interlocutory applications are filed pending adjudication of the claim made by the financial institution/Bank before the Tribunal, the order so passed is also appeasable under Section 20 before the Act and thus such party is called upon to pay the requisite Court-fees. Counsel stated that since the Legislature has not made arrangement meeting contingency of this Court, insistence of payment of Court-fees in terms of Rule 8 of the DRAT Rules is improper and without jurisdiction.
(3.) THE endeavour is on the provisions made under Rule 8 which insists payment of Court-fees. Counsel stated that the language used in Rule 8 of the DRAT Rules is on the amount of debt due and when such debts are found due, if the amount of debt found due is less than Rs. 10 lakh, Rs. 12,000/- is the fee payable, and in case of debt found to be due is more than Rs. 10 lakh or more but less than Rs. 30 lakh Rs. 20,000/- is fee and another category where the amount of debt found due is more than Rs. 30 lakh, fee payable is Rs. 30,000/-. Counsel pleaded that the words "amount of debt due" appearing in Sub-rule (2) of Rule 8 cannot be read as if the amount due and insist payment of Court-fees. While making efforts to convince this Tribunal, Counsels drew my attention to Section 2(g) read with Section 20 of the Act and distinguished the situation arising out of these provisions. All the Counsel pleaded that the Legislature has not made provision for such contingency of order passed on miscellaneous application, and, therefore, prayed that insistence of Court-fees in terms of Rule 8 is not sustainable.;