At, Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal At Delhi
By, J. M. MALIK (CHAIRPERSON)
S. L. Gupta
The Judgment was delivered by : J. M. Malik (Chairperson)
In this case the State Bank of India has picked up a conflict with the rate of pendente lite and future interest granted by the lower Court @ 10% p.a. from the date of filing of the original application till its realization. The grievance of the appellant is that the learned DRT should have granted contractual rate of interest @ 15.4% p.a. with quarterly rests till the money was recovered.
2. The learned Counsel for the appellant argued that the respondent submitted proposal to pay the principal amount and accrued interest at prime lending rate i.e. @ 12% p.a. during the pendency of this suit vide proposal made by it on 5.2.2001 but the same was not accepted. It is explained that the pendente lite and future interest pertains to a long period of 10 years. Again, the learned DRT did not give any reason for reduction of the rate of interest. The order passed by the learned Trial Court is conspicuously silent about the reasons for reduction of interest.
3. All these arguments lack conviction. The learned DRT, however, observed that as per the Judgment passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Central Bank of India v. Ravindra & Ors. by constitution bench of Supreme Court, I (2002) BC 150 (SC)=VII (2001) SLT 400=IV (2001) CLT 127 (SC)=(2002) 1 SCC 367, and as per Section 19(20) of the RDDBFI Act, 1993 which is analogous to Section 34 of CPC the Tribunal/Court has discretion in awarding the pendente lite and future interest.
4. In the cases reported in Central Bank of India v. Ravindra & Ors. by constitution bench of Supreme Court (supra), State Bank of India v. Sarathi Textiles & Ors., II (2009) BC 696 (SC)=2008(3) SCALE 409, C.K. Sasankan v. Dhanalakshmi Bank Ltd., I (2009) CLT 368 (SC)=II (2009) SLT 449=2009(2) D.R.T.C. 320 (S.C.) and Sardar Associates and Others v. Punjab & Sind Bank and Others, VI (2009) SLT 473=III (2009) BC 705 (SC)=III (2009) CLT 186 (SC)= AIR 2010 SC 218, it was held that it is the discretion of the Court to award the pendente lite and future interest which has to be exercised fairly. No rate of interest under the circumstances can be made a rule of thumb. The Court has to find out what is the role, conduct and behaviour of both the parties and the surrounding circumstances.
5. I have perused the application moved by the appellant under Section 17 of the SRFAESI Act, wherein following averments were made. For about two years applicant firm was regular in repayment of its dues towards the respondent Bank and its account was running regularly. However, due to various reasons beyond the control of the applicant firm and slump in its business the loan account of the applicant firm with the respondent Bank became irregular and non-performing asset. It had applied for OTS but the same was not accepted. It was also averred that as per the Haryana Industrial Policy 1997, Fatehabad block where the company was situated was identified and declared as industrially backward area. It was prayed that under these circumstances, the applicant is entitled to confessional rate of interest. All these reasons read in conjunction with the order passed by the learned Trial Court entitle the respondent for the reduction of rate of interest.
6. I see no illegality or infirmity in the order passed by the learned Trial Court. Though, it should have mentioned all these reasons in the impugned order, yet the order passed by it is flawless. The appeal is sans merits and deserves dismissal at the stage of admission which I hereby direct.
7. Copies of this order be furnished to the parties as per law and another copy be sent to the learned DRT.