At, Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal At Delhi
By, J. M. MALIK
H. C. Dhall, Yogesh Pachouri
The Judgment was delivered by : Hon'ble Justice J. M. Malik
The learned Presiding Officer, DRT vide his order dated 25.6.1999 issued a recovery certificate in the sum of Rs. 1,01,60,554.59 along with pendente lite and future interest @ 24.25% p.a. with quarterly rests from the date of filing of O.A. till its realization in favour of the applicant Bank. Aggrieved by that order the present appeal was filed at Bombay, having jurisdiction at that point of time, in September, 1999.
2. I have heard the Counsel for the parties. The Counsel for the appellant vehemently argued that the learned DRT passed the said order as if he was dealing with an application under Order 37 of the CPC. Although, the appellant/borrower/defendant filed the written statement, yet, none of the parties including the Bank was given an opportunity to lead evidence. The Bank was not given an opportunity to file their evidence nor did they exhibit their documents. Likewise, no opportunity was given to the appellant to lead evidence in rebuttal.
3. Such hearings or dates are conspicuously missing from the order sheets. The learned DRT held that no arguable points were ever raised but the written statement reveals that the case was contested tooth and nail. The learned Counsel for the appellant further submitted that the appellant has already deposited more amount than what has been claimed by the Bank and defences were never considered.
4. On the other hand, Counsel for the respondent Bank submitted that this was the procedure which used to be adopted by the learned DRT. This procedure is not in accordance with the law. This is well known legal maxim, "no man should be condemned unheard". Again whatever disagreement there may be as to the scope of the phrase "due process of law", there can be no doubt due to it embraces the fundamental conception of a fair trial, with opportunity to be heard.
5. Consequently, I accept the appeal, set aside the order passed by the learned Presiding Officer, DRT and remand the case back to the DRT with the clear instructions to give opportunities to both the parties to lead evidence and decide the case properly. The learned Counsel for the Bank undertakes that he will file affidavit and produce evidence before the learned DRT on 26.2.2010 for which the Court may grant one more opportunity and close the case of the respondent Bank. Likewise, two opportunities be also given to the appellant for leading evidence and the case must be disposed of within three months from today and this is further made clear that this is an old case perhaps the oldest appeal pending in this Court, Consequently, the learned DRT would expedite the case and if possible after close of the evidence by both the parties would fix the case on day-to-day basis.
6. Parties to appear before the learned Presiding Officer, DRT concerned on 26.2.2010.
7. Order announced in the open Court in presence of the Counsel for the parties.
Copies of this order be furnished to the parties as per law. Another copy be sent to the learned DRT concerned.