Ker HC | No bar to parallel proceedings under SARFAESI Act during ongoing Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process; HC reiterates

Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court: A.M. Badar, J., while dismissing the present petition, reiterated the observations of the Supreme Court in the words, “In cases relating to recovery of the dues of banks, financial institutions and secured creditors, stay granted by the High Court would have a serious adverse impact on the financial health of such bodies/institutions, which (sic will) ultimately prove detrimental to the economy of the nation. Therefore, the High Court should be extremely careful and circumspect in exercising its discretion to grant stay in such matters.”

 Background

The petitioner who happens to be the Managing Director of one Heera Construction Company; a corporate debtor, is challenging orders namely, P3, P4 and P4(a) and is seeking further direction against the respondent 1 to keep in abeyance all further proceedings pursuant to Ext P3, P4 and P4(a) till the disposal of CP(IB) 4447/2018. It is to be noted that Ext P3 is a notice of sale under Rule 8(6) of Security Interest (Enforcement) Rules, 2002, Ext P4 is a further notice under the said Rules for sale of secured assets and Ext P4 (a) is e-auction sale notice issued in terms of the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002.

 Observations

On the contention that parallel proceedings under SARFAESI is impermissible

“… argument advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner that because of pendency of proceedings before the NCLT, parallel proceedings under the SARFAESI Act are not maintainable, needs to be rejected. Even otherwise Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has application against the corporate debtor. It cannot be said that there is bar for proceedings against the guarantor under the SARFAESI Act because of pendency of corporate insolvency resolution process against the corporate debtor.”

 On interference of Court under Article 226 if an alternative statutory remedy is available

Court placed reliance on the case of, Authorized Officer, State Bank of Travancore v. Mathew K.C., 2018 (1) KLT 784; “…the discretionary jurisdiction under Article 226 is not absolute but has to be exercised judiciously in the given facts of a case and in accordance with law. The normal rule is that a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution ought not to be entertained if alternate statutory remedies are available, except in cases falling within the well defined exceptions…”

Further reference was made to the alternate remedy available under DRT Act through, Punjab National Bank v. O.C. Krishnan, (2001) 6 SCC 569; “The Act has been enacted with a view to provide a special procedure for recovery of debts due to the banks and the financial institutions. There is a hierarchy of appeal provided in the Act, namely, filing of an appeal under Section 20 and this fast-track procedure cannot be allowed to be derailed either by taking recourse to proceedings under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution or by filing a civil suit, which is expressly barred. Even though a provision under an Act cannot expressly oust the jurisdiction of the court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, nevertheless, when there is an alternative remedy available, judicial prudence demands that the Court refrains from exercising its jurisdiction under the said constitutional provisions”

 Decision

Dismissing the present petition, the Court said, “Loans by financial institutions are granted from public money generated at the tax payers expense. Such loan does not become the property of the person taking the loan, but retains its character of public money given in a fiduciary capacity as entrustment by the public. Timely repayment also ensures liquidity to facilitate loan to another in need, by circulation of the money and cannot be permitted to be blocked by frivolous litigation by those who can afford the luxury of the same.”[Dr Abdul Rasheed v. IFCI Limited, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 8293, decided on 03-12-2020]


Sakshi Shuka, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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