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Allahabad High Court expresses displeasure at Centre for not appointing presiding officers for tribunals

In this petition, the petitioner has approached the Court against the orders dated January 19, 2022 and January 03, 2022 passed by Debt Recovery Tribunal, Lucknow.

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The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court expressed strong displeasure at the Central government over the non-appointment of presiding officers in various debt recovery tribunals and debt recovery appellate tribunals for a long time.

A single-judge bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Canara Bank/Assets Recovery Mgmt Branch, Lko Thru Chief Manager Ajeet Kumar Srivastava.

In this petition, the petitioner has approached the Court against the orders dated January 19, 2022 and January 03, 2022 passed by Debt Recovery Tribunal, Lucknow.

Occasion to approach the Court directly in writ jurisdiction has arisen because of keeping the post of Presiding Officer/Chairman of Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal has been vacant for more than three months.

The Recovery of Debts and Bankruptcy Act, 1993 provides for establishment of Debt Recovery Tribunal/Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal for the purpose of adjudicating the disputes for recovery etc, of the loan advanced by the financial institutions. For the said purposes, the tribunals and appellate tribunals have been set up and adjudicatory mechanisms have been provided under the Act and rules framed thereunder.

The Court said, “It is unfortunate that after creating mechanism and adjudicatory forums, for several months and in some cases years, the posts of Presiding Officer/Chairman are kept vacant and the litigants have to come to the Court. This increases the burden of the High Court unnecessarily. If the Government is unable to appoint competent persons as Presiding Officers/Chairmen in DRTs /DRATs, then it is better that this enactment is scrapped and the tribunals are abolished.”

The Court sought a response from the Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of India on what is preventing the Government from appointing Presiding Officers/Chairmen in DRTs/DRATs, which are vacant for several months in the country.

“Let an appropriate response be filed within a period of 2 weeks by the Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. Till the next date of listing of the petitions, respondents are directed to maintain status quo in respect of the properties in question. List after two weeks,” the Court ordered.

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