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Debts Recovery Tribunal

Keeping in line with the international trends on helping financial institutions


recover their bad Debt quickly and effeciently, the Government of India has constituted
thirty three Debt Recovery Tribunal and five Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal across
the country.

The Debt Recovery Tribunal are located across the country. Some cities have
more than one Debt Recovery Tribunal located therein. New Delhi and Mumbai have
three Debt Recovery Tribunal. Chennai and Kolkata have two Debt Recovery Tribunal
each. One Debt Recovery Tribunal each has been constituted at Ahmdabad, Allahabad,
Arungabad, Bangalore, Chandigrah, Coimbatore, Cuttack, Ernakulam, Guwahati,
Hydrabad, Jabalpur, Jaipur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Patna, Pune, Ranchi and Vishakapatnam.
Depending upon the number of cases a Debt Recovery Tribunal is constituted.

There are a number of States that do not have a Debt Recovery Tribunal. The
Banks & Financial Institutions and other parties in these States have to go to Debt
Recovery Tribunal located in other states having jurisdiction over there area. Thus the
territorial jurisdiction of some Debt Recovery Tribunal is very vast. For example, the
Debt Recovery Tribunal located in Guwahati has jurisdiction over all the seven North
Eastern States. Similarly, the territorial jurisdiction of the Debt Recovery Tribunal located
at Chandhigarh too has a very wide jurisdiction over the States of Punjab, Harayana,
Chandhigarh.

The setting up of a Debt Recovery Tribunal is dependant upon the volume of


cases. Higher the number of cases within a territorial area, more Debt Recovery Tribunal
would be set up.

Each Debt Recovery Tribunal is presided over by a Presiding Officer. The


Presiding Officer is generally a judge of the rank of Dist. & Sessions Judge. A Presiding
Officer of a Debt Recovery Tribunal is assisted by a number of officers of other ranks,
but none of them need necessarily have a judicial back ground. Therefore, the Presiding
Officer of a Debt Recovery Tribunal is the sole judicial authority to hear and pass any
judicial order.

Each Debt Recovery Tribunal has two Recovery Officers. The work amongst the
Recovery Officers is allocated by the Presiding Officer. Though a Recovery Officer need
not be a judicial Officer, but the orders passed by a Recovery Officer are judicial in
nature, and are appealable before the Presiding Officer of the Tribunal.

The Debt Recovery Tribunal are governed by provisions of the Recovery of Debt
Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, also popularly called as the RDB Act.
Rules have been framed and notified under the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and
Financial Institutions Act, 1993.
After the enactment of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets
and Enforcement of Security Interests Act (SRFAESI Act or SRFAESIA for short)
borrowers could become first applicants before the Debt Recovery Tribunal. Earlier only
lenders could be applicants.

The Debt Recovery Tribunal are fully empowered to pass comprehensive orders
like in Civil Courts. The Tribunal can hear cross suits, counter claims and allow set offs.
However, they cannot hear claims of damages or deficiency of services or breach of
contract or criminal negligence on the part of the lenders.

The Debt Recovery Tribunal can appoint Receivers, Commissioners, pass ex-parte
ordes, ad-interim orders, interim orders apart from powers to Review its own decision
and hear appeals against orders passed by the Recovery Officers of the Tribunal.

The recording of evidence by Debt Recovery Tribunal is some what unique. All
evidences are taken by way of an affidavit. Cross examination is allowed only on reqeust
by the defense, and that too if the Tribunal feels that such a cross examination is in the
interest of justice. Friviolous cross examination may be denied. There are a number of
other unique features in the proceedings before the Debt Recovery Tribunal all aimed at
expediting the proceedings.