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GUJARAT HC ISSUES NOTICE IN PLEA FOR APPOINTMENT OF PRESIDING OFFICER IN DRT AHMEDABAD

Team SoOLEGAL 2 Jul 2022 12:32pm

GUJARAT HC ISSUES NOTICE IN PLEA FOR APPOINTMENT OF PRESIDING OFFICER IN DRT AHMEDABAD

New Delhi: Last week, the Gujarat High Court directed the Central government to expedite the process of appointing a Presiding Officer (PO) to the Debts Recovery Tribunal-I (DRT-I), Ahmedabad.

A division bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J Shastri ordered that the order be followed within two months of its issuance.

In the interim, the bench instructed the respondents to charge DRT-I on the PO for DRT-II.

The order was issued in response to public interest litigation (PIL) petition alleging that the vacancy was causing significant difficulties for litigants and advocates.

According to the petition, the vacancy was causing a serious gross violation of litigants whose cases were pending before the tribunal, as well as their access to justice was jeopardised.

"The vacancy in DRT-I has resulted in a violation of the bankers/lenders', borrowers', guarantors', and other stake holders' legal rights of representation," the petition stated.

It also claimed that the vacancy overburdened writ courts, contradicting the intent for which tribunals were established.

As DRT-II was operational, the petitioners claimed that the vacancy in DRT-I violated litigants' Article 14 rights by causing discrimination among those who were identically placed.

In this regard, the division bench highlighted that the right to speedy justice is enshrined in Article 21.

The court also stated that the matter was adjourned three times based on Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Devang Vyas's statement that the appointment process was underway, but the assurance never materialized.

"Though this matter has seen two subsequent dates i.e. 17.6.2022 and 20.6.2022, till date, the assurance given to this Court has not crystallized by way of any such steps having been taken or order having been issued", the Court stated.

Furthermore, since the Central government's counsel who was in court declined to express clearly whether they were prepared to pass an order or issue an office memo for an in-charge arrangement, the Court went ahead and passed the order.

The petitioner was represented by Advocate Vishal J. Dave and Hiral U. Mehta, and the respondent was represented by Advocate Siddharth Dave.



Tagged: Gujarat High Court  
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