Madhya Pradesh High Court | While deciding a matter related to repossession of vehicle without following the SARFAESI Act, a Division bench compromising of Sujoy Paul* and Amar Nath (Kesharwani) JJ., held that when filing of a document is not a condition precedent for entertaining and registering an application under S. 17 of the SARFAESI Act, then same should not be expected by the Tribunal.
In the instant matter, the petitioner, M/s Agrawal Coal and Logistics filed a case against the Tata Motors Finance Ltd. under S. 17 of the SARFAESI Act before the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) the repossession of vehicle without following the SARFAESI Act. The Registrar of DRT vide order dated 03-03-2023, refused to register the case on the ground that there is no document to show that the repossession of vehicle took place under the SARFAESI Act. The petitioner thereafter preferred an appeal before the Presiding Officer of DRT which was also dismissed vide order dated 09-03-2023. Aggrieved by the impugned order dated 09-03-2023 passed by the Presiding Officer of DRT, the petitioner preferred a writ petition before this Court.
The petitioner contended that there was no reason for DRT to disbelieve the pleadings and neither the SARFAESI Act nor the Rules make it obligatory to file any such document to substantiate the case. The petitioner relied on S. 17(1) of the SARFAESI Act which provides that any person aggrieved by any of the measures taken by secured creditor, as referred in S. 13(4), may approach DRT. The petitioner further contended that S. 17(1) talks about whether measure has been taken or not, it nowhere talks about existence of any documentary evidence for that purpose, therefore, the Registrar and Presiding Officer of the DRT has committed an error in declining registration of application under S. 17 of the said Act.
The Court observed that the Presiding Officer of DRT had accepted the petitioner's pleading that the vehicle was repossessed, and no documents were made available to the petitioner. The Court further observed that when no document is provided to the petitioner then it is impossible for the petitioner to produce the document and the same should not be expected by the DRT. Moreover, when filing of such document is not a condition precedent for entertaining and registering an application under S. 17 of the SARFAESI Act, then the same should not be asked by the DRT.
“A conjoint reading of Section 13(4) of Section 17(1) of the SARFAESI Act makes it clear that what is required to be established is that the secured creditor has taken measure under sub-Section(4) of Section 13 in order to invoke the remedy under Section 17 of the said Act.”
The Court set aside the impugned order dated 03-03-2023 and order dated 09-03-2023 passed by the Registrar and Presiding Officer respectively. Without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, the Court directed the DRT to register the application preferred by the petitioner under S. 17 of the Act and proceed in accordance with the law.
[Agrawal Coals and Logistics v. DRT, 2023 SCC OnLine MP 797, order dated 17-03-2023]
*Judgment by Justice Sujoy Paul
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Prabhanshu Shukla, Counsel for the Petitioner