NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
ORIGINAL PETITION NO. 116 OF 2001
Traxpo Trading Ltd. .. Complainant
The Federal Bank Ltd. .. Opposite Party
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE D.P. WADHWA,
HONBLE JUSTICE J.K. MEHRA, MEMBER
MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER.
MR. B.K. TAIMNI, MEMBER
Section -18 : Recovery of Debts Due to Banks & Financial Institutions Act, 1993 bar of jurisdiction of Consumer Forum - complaint raising complex questions of facts and law.
[Note: The order of the National Commission upheld by the Supreme Court in Civil Appeal 1361 of 2002 by the following order dated 18.2.2002:
Regardless of the view taken in regard to Section 18 of the Recovery of Debts Due to companies & Financial Institutions Act, 1993, we are of the opinion that this was not an appropriate matter to file before the Consumer Forum, having regard to the complexity of the issues involved. The appropriate course, if at all, would have been a civil suit.
The civil appeal is dismissed.]
For the complainant : Mr. M.N. Krishnamani, Sr. Advocate and
Mr. K.R. Nambiar, Advocate with him.
For the opposite party : Mr. V.P. Diwan, Advocate.
Dated the 15th October, 2001
PER JUSTICE D.P. WADHWA (PRESIDENT)
Alleging deficiency of service on the part of the opposite party-bank this complaint has been filed seeking various reliefs and directions which are as under:
1. Directing the opposite party to pay to the complainant a sum of Rs. 49,59,415.59 as stated in paragraph 1(1)(i) above.
2. Directing the opposite party to pay to the complainant a sum of Rs.13,64, 61,508.46 towards loss and damages suffered by the complainant as stated in paragraph 1(1)(iv) above.
3. In the alternative, to make an enquiry into the loss and damages suffered by the complainant and directing the opposite party to pay to the complainant the said assessed sum towards loss and damages suffered by the complainant.
4. Directing the opposite party to withdraw their purported letters of threat dated 3rd April, 2000 issued to overseas sellers and/or their agents as stated in paragraph 1(h) (i) hereinabove.
5. Directing the opposite party to withdraw their purported letters of threat written and issued to several overseas sellers and or their agents as stated in paragraph 1(h)(viii) hereinabove.
6. Directing the opposite party to withdraw their purported letters written to the several customers of the complainant including the two letters both dated May 28, 1999 addressed to Sudarshan Drugs & Intermediates Ltd. wrongly printed as Srikrishan Drugs & Intermediaries Ltd. and M/s. Padmavati Chemical Company as stated in paragraph 1(i) (i) hereinbefore.
7. Directing the opposite party to issue particular statements/ insertions/advertisements in four newspapers to be circulated in Calcutta, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi to the effect that the opposite party wrongfully and illegally issued the letters as stated in paragraphs 1(h)(i) and 1(i) (i) above.
8. Directing the opposite party to return all the original documents lying with the opposite party against the Letters of Credit as stated in paragraph 1(g) above.
9. Directing that there is no dues payable by the complainant to the opposite party either in the FIBP account maintained with the opposite party or in any account or accounts whatsoever.
10. Directing that the interest purportedly claimed in the FIBP account by the opposite party or the monies shown as payable by the complainant to the opposite party in the said FIBP account are all wrongful and illegal and accordingly to quash the said claims of the opposite party.
11. Directing that no interest can be charged by the opposite party in respect of the FIBP account maintained with the opposite party;
12. Injunction restraining the opposite party from charging any further interest in the FIBP account and from debiting the said account by any further amount.
13. Injunction be issued restraining the opposite party from closing the said three Fixed Deposit accounts Nos. FFD-1/98,FFD-2/98 and FFD-3/98 and/or realising the monies lying to the credit of the said three Fixed Deposit accounts and allow the said accounts to be continued with the opposite party at the sole discretion and desire of the complainant.
14. Ad-interim orders in terms of prayers above.
18. Costs; and
19. Further or other reliefs.
On filing of this complaint on 17.4.2001 we issued notice to the bank for this day i.e. 15.10.2001. Written version of the bank has been filed. Admittedly the bank filed a suit for recovery of over Rs.82.00 lakhs from the complainant which suit was filed on 31.8.2001 and is pending before the Debt Recovery Tribunal under the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks & Financial Institutions Act, 1993( for short Act). Mr. Krishnamani, learned Senior Advocate for the complainant submitted that so far complainant has not filed written statement in the suit. Under section 18 of the Act jurisdiction of this Commission is barred where the bank has filed suit. Defendant in that suit can claim set off or even counter claim against the bank under section 19 of the Act. Complainant would have ample opportunity to raise all the issues presented in the present complaint. That apart when we examined the complaint it raises complex questions both of facts and law which is not possible to decide in our summary jurisdiction. Then we also feel that this complaint has been filed more as a counter blast to the proposed action of the bank. No doubt this complaint has been filed four months earlier of filing of the suit by the bank before the Debt Recovery Tribunal. But
from that we cannot lose sight of the fact that the bank would have threatened the complainant for filing a suit and when such suit was imminent, complainant chose to file this complaint. We therefore, decline to entertain this complaint and return the same to the complainant to seek remedy, if any, elsewhere. This complainant is disposed of accordingly. Opposite party-bank shall be entitled to costs of these proceedings which we quantify at Rs.5,000/-.
(J.K. MEHRA) MEMBER
. .. ..
( B.K. TAIMNI)