Jurisdictionally bereft from hearing matter under SARFAESI Act on merits, Kerala HC allows defaulter to repay bank in installments

Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Devan Ramachandran, J. was seized of a civil writ petition filed by a defaulter challenging proceedings initiated by the respondent bank against him under Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act).

The Court took note of the financial constraints and burden pleaded by the petitioner and in the interest of saving time, disposed of the petition granting petitioner an opportunity to repay the loan in installments.

At the outset, the Court opined that it was jurisdictionally proscribed from considering the legality impugned proceedings in view of binding judicial pronouncements of the Apex Court in United Bank of India v. Satyawati Tondon, (2010) 8 SCC 110. Therefore, it refused to consider any of the contentions raised by the petitioner on merits. However, counsels for the petitioner Sri Saiju S. and Smt Rubeena Hilal prayed that notwithstanding jurisdictional limitations, the petitioner may be granted leniency to enable him to pay off respondent’s loan in installments.

It was noted that banks are only interested in recovering and not in pursuing pending litigations for recovery; and on respondent bank’s submission to that effect, petitioner was granted an opportunity to pay the entire outstanding amount to respondent in installments.

The Court clarified that in case of any default by the petitioner, a benefit granted to him under its judgment would stand vacated and the bank would be at liberty to recover entire amount from him by continuing proceedings under SARFAESI Act from the stage as it was on the date of this judgment.[Wills I v. Kerala State Co-operative Bank Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5227, decided on 10-12-2018]

 

 

 

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