At, Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal At Chennai
By, THE HONORABLE JUSTICE: A. SUBBULAKSHMY. (CHAIRPERSON)
1. Aggrieved against the order passed by the learned Presiding Officer, Debts Recovery Tribunal, Bangalore, in IA-15/2001, in OA-681/1995 the appellants have come forward with this Appeal.
2. The appellants filed IA-15/2001 for permitting the Tribunal to raise counter-claim of Rs. 65,00,000/- with interest against the Applicant Bank. The Tribunal rejected the Application for non-payment of Court fee by its order dated 31.8.2001.
3. The Counsel for the appellants submits that the Debts Recovery Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1993 do not provide for any payment of Court fee on counter-claim and the appellants are not liable to pay Court fee on the counter-claim and the counter-claim has to be entertained.
4. The Counsel for the respondent Bank submits that for making counter-claim, the appellants have to pay Court fee since the appellants have raised counter-claim for about Rs. 65,00,000/- (Rupees sixty five lakhs) with interest from the applicant Bank. The Bank has filed suit for recovery of Rs. 17,92,497.60 p and the appellants have raised counter-claim for a sum of Rs. 65,00,000/- with interest.
5. Section 19(7) of the Recovery of Debts Due Banks and Financial Institutions (RDDB&FI) Act, 1993 states that the written statement shall have the same effect as a plaint in a cross-suit so as to enable the Tribunal to pass a final order in respect of both the original claim and of the set-off. Clause (9) states that a counter-claim under Sub-section (8) shall have the same effect as a cross-suit so as to enable the Tribunal to pass a final order on the same application, both on the original claim and on the counter-claim.
6. The appellants have raised the counter-claim which amounts to cross-suit. In the counter-claim the appellants have claimed a sum of Rs. 65,00,000/- from the Bank. For Recovery of any amount from any party the requisite Court Fee has to be paid. The Counsel for the appellants submits that the amount claimed in the counter-claim is not a debt and it does not fall under Section 2(g) of the RDDB&FI Act. It is significant to note that the amount claimed by the appellants from the Bank in the counter-claim according to the appellants is due from the Bank to the appellants.
7. The appellants have filed the counter-claim for realisation of the amount from the Bank to the appellant as the amount is due from the Bank. Raising of the counter-claim amounts to suit and what are all applicable to the suit are all applicable to the counter-claim and for the suit the applicant is bound to pay Court fee and for the counter-claim also the party who claims is bound to pay the Court fee.
8. Sub-clause 19(9) states that counter claim can be treated as cross-suit.
9. Rule 7 of Debts Recovery Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1993 relates to payment of Court fee stating every application under Section 19 shall be accompanied with a fee provided in Sub-rule (2). The counter-claim comes within the purview of Section 19 and any Application filed under Section 19 of the Act shall be accompanied with the Court fee. The Rule 7 provides for payment of Court fee for counter-claim.
10. When counter-claim is treated as cross-suit that shall be accompanied with requisite Court fee under the provision of Act.
11. Appellants are at liberty to file their counter-claim before DRT, Bangalore on payment of the requisite Court fee and on such filing of counter-claim with requisite Court fee, the learned Presiding Officer, DRT, Bangalore is directed to entertain the counter-claim and dispose of the counter-claim along with the original application according to law.
12. The Counsel for the appellants requests two weeks' time for filing the counter-claim and two weeks' time is granted to the appellants for filing their counter-claim with the requisite Court fee.