Securities Appellate Tribunal, Mumbai: The Bench Tarun Agarwala, Presiding Officer and Dr C.K.G. Nair, Member disposed of the appeal with a direction that the appellant made a representation before SEBI in a matter where the interest on an amount was held for 13 years. 

The facts of the case are that SEBI floated Securities and Exchange Board of India (Interest Liability Regularization) Scheme, 2004 wherein stockbrokers having outstanding fee liabilities could pay the entire outstanding amount of principal along with 20% of the outstanding interest in which case they would not be liable for payment of the balance 80% of the outstanding interest. Based on the scheme, SEBI issued a fee liability statement in October 2004. As per the statement, the appellant was required to pay a sum of Rs 3,32,016. The appellant paid a sum of Rs 2,12,921 towards the entire outstanding amount of principal along with 20% interest. Thereafter the appellant filed an appeal before the Tribunal seeking relief for setting aside the impugned fee liability statement issued by SEBI. The Tribunal by an order disposed of the appeal directing SEBI to take a final decision after taking into account the payment made by the appellant and if the adjustment was required then SEBI was required to do so. In the meanwhile, during the pendency of the appeal, the appellant paid an amount of Rs 3,14,497 under protest pursuant to the fee liability statement dated March 16, 2005. The contention of the appellant was that the respondent had unlawfully withheld the amount of Rs 3,14,497 without any authority of law for a period of 13 years and, therefore, was entitled to interest as well as costs of litigation which the appellant had incurred.

The Tribunal held that before approaching the Tribunal for payment of interest and costs, it would be appropriate for the appellant to approach SEBI for the said relief. The appeal was thus disposed of with such direction. [MLB Financial Services Ltd. v. SEBI, Appeal No. 313 of 2018, Order dated 01-02-2019]

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