Charge of Debt Recovery Tribunal cannot be given to Presiding Officer of DRT outside the State: Kerala High Court

12th June,2021

Charge of Debt Recovery Tribunal cannot be given to Presiding Officer of DRT outside the State: Kerala High Court



The Kerala High Court has held that a presiding officer of a Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) located outside the state cannot be given charge of the DRT (Kerala Fashion Jewellery Vs. Union of India). As a result, a Division Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly quashed a Central government notification entrusting the charge of the Debt Recovery Tribunal - 2 (DRT-2) Ernakulam to the presiding officer of DRT-2 Bangalore after the post of presiding officer at DRT-2 Ernakulam became vacant. If and when the office of the Tribunal established under the (Recovery of Debts and Bankruptcy) Act becomes vacant, the Central Government has the option of authorising the Presiding Officer of any other Tribunal established under any other law within the jurisdictional State to discharge the functions of the Presiding Officer of a DRT, which would be more beneficial and accessible to the litigant. The decision came in response to a plea brought by Kerala Fashion Jewellery, a Thrissur-based jewellery company, seeking to reverse an earlier verdict by a single judge of the Kerala High Court, which upheld the Central government's notification in this matter. The Collection of Debts and Bankruptcy Act, 1993, is an Act that establishes tribunals for the expedient adjudication and recovery of debts, according to the Division Bench's decision. As a result, the Division Bench reversed the single-decision judge's and directed the Central government to issue a new notification as soon as possible, in compliance with the law and the terms of the Recovery of Debts and Bankruptcy Act, 1993.