Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Devan Ramachandran, J. dismissed a civil writ petition calling into question the statutory competence of a Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) to act under the provisions of Section 14 of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002.

Learned Senior Counsel on behalf of the petitioner, Mr. K.P. Dandapani, submitted that Section 14 of SARFAESI Act vests jurisdiction to assist the secured creditor in taking possession of a secured asset, only with a Metropolitan Magistrate or a District Magistrate, within whose jurisdiction any such secured asset is situated or found. Since Ernakulam district was not a metropolitan area under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, therefore, the CJM would not have jurisdiction to act under Section 14 of SARFAESI Act.

The Court noted that the present issue was pending consideration of Supreme Court in a case titled P.M. Kelukutty v. Young Mens Christian Association numbered as SLP No. 4665 of 2016. However, relying on the judgments of Division Bench of this Court in Muhammed Ashraf v. Union of India, 2008 SCC OnLine Ker 201 and Radhakrishnan V.N. v. State of Kerala, ILR 2008 (4) Ker 863 it was held that a Chief Judicial Magistrate is also authorized by law to act under the provisions of Section 14 of the SARFAESI Act.

In view of the above, the petition was dismissed and petitioners were granted liberty to approach the competent statutory forum for invoking alternative remedies as per law.[Pouly v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5415, decided on 15-11-2018]


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