Mad HC | Costs imposed on Central Bank of India for deputing Chief Manager, who did not file proof affidavit, to be cross-examined in proceedings before DRT

Madras High Court: A Division Bench of Rmt. Teeka Raman and P.D. Audikesavalu, JJ. imposed costs of Rs 25,000 on Central Bank of India for deputing its Chief Manager for cross-examination in the matter before the Debts Recovery Tribunal, Chennai, in place of its Assistant General Manager who had filed the proof of affidavit therein.

The Bank had instituted an application under Section 19 of the Recovery Debts and Bankruptcy Act, 1993 against the petitioner for recovery of a certain amount due under credit facilities. The petitioners filed a petition before the High Court whereunder the Court directed the cross-examination of the Bank’s Assistant General Manager who had filed the proof of affidavit. However, it was only after the certified copy of the said order was furnished to the parties, that the counsel for the petitioner realised that the person cross-examined was not the person who was to be cross-examined. Thereafter, he prayed before the Tribunal to eschew the evidence of the Assistant General Manager as it was of cross-examined. However, the prayer was declined and an option was given to the petitioner to cross-examine the Assistant General Manager afresh. The petitioner’s counsel declined to do so and instead filed the present petition against the order of the Tribunal.

The High Court noted that despite considerable force in petitioner’s arguments. it was also to be considered that the petitioner declined to cross-examine the Assistant General Manager in spite of being given the opportunity. In such circumstance, the impugned order was held liable not to be interfered with. However, the Court strongly deprecated the conduct of the Bank and imposed costs of Rs 25,000 to be paid to the counsel of the petitioner. The petitioner was permitted to cross-examine the Assistant General Manager on the next hearing. [Devi Karumariamman Educational Trust v. Central Bank of India, CRP No. 1790 of 2019, decided on 22-05-2019]

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