The written proposal cannot be maintained. Bank rejection: SC

The written proposal cannot be maintained.  Bank rejection: SC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said borrowers, distressed by procedures started under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act (SARFAESI) 2002 by the bank or the assets reproduction organization (ARC), need to benefit the cure under this law and no writ petition would be viable. The apex court held this while vacating the order passed by the Karnataka High Court (HC) which had directed support of status quo with regard to ownership of mortgaged properties subject to the borrowers making an payment of Rs 1 crore with the ARC concerned.

“If proceedings are initiated under the SARFAESI Act and/or any proposed action is to be taken and the borrower is aggrieved by any of the actions of the private bank/bank/ARC, borrower has to avail the remedy under the SARFAESI Act and no writ petition would lie and/or is maintainable and/or entertainable,” the bench said.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna, while referring to an earlier judgement delivered by the top court, opined that filing of writ petitions by the borrowers before the HC under Article 226 of the Constitution in the case was an “abuse of process” of the court.

The apex court delivered its judgement on the pleas filed by the ARC challenging the order passed by the HC, which had entertained the writ petition and passed interim order directing for maintaining status quo with regard to the proposed action under the SARFAESI Act.

“Filing of the writ petition by the borrowers before the high court is nothing but an abuse of process of court. It appears that the high court has initially granted an ex-parte ad-interim order mechanically and without assigning any reasons,” it said.

The bench said the HC orders directing to maintain status quo with respect to possession of secured properties on payment of Rs three crore in all is “absolutely unjustifiable” as the dues are to the extent of approximately Rs 117 crores.

“Even otherwise, it is required to be noted that a writ petition against the private financial institution – ARC – appellant herein under Article 226 of the Constitution of India against the proposed action/actions under section 13(4) of the SARFAESI Act can be said to be not maintainable,” the apex court noted.

The bench said the HC ought to have appreciated that by such an interim order, the rights of secured creditor to recover the due amount have been seriously prejudiced.

It said the secured creditor or its assignor have a right to recover the amount due and payable to it from borrowers. “The stay granted by the high court would have serious adverse impact on the financial health of the secured creditor/assignor. Therefore, the high court should have been extremely careful and circumspect in exercising its discretion while granting stay in such matters,” the bench said.

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