Blog: Supreme Court Annual Digest 2022-Banking Law – Live Law – Indian Legal News

Banking Companies (Period of Preservation of Records) Rules, 1985 – FERA Proceedings initiated against Banks – Show causes notices issued in the year 2002, i.e., after a period of almost one decade from the date of the alleged transactions of 1992-­1993, were not tenable in law – The Banks are required to preserve the record for five years and eight years respectively – Permitting the show cause notices and the proceedings continued thereunder of the transactions which have taken place much prior to eight years would be unfair and unreasonable. Union of India v. Citibank NA, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 704

Banking Law – Bank’s Liability for acts of employees – Acts of bank/post office employees, when done during their course of employment, are binding on the bank/post office at the instance of the person who is damnified by the fraud and wrongful acts of the officers of the bank/post office. Post office / bank, can and is entitled to proceed against the officers for the loss caused due to the fraud etc., but this would not absolve them from their liability if the employee involved was acting in the course of his employment and duties. (Para 37) Pradeep Kumar v. Post Master General, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 139 : (2022) 6 SCC 351

Banking Law – Bank’s Liability for acts of employees – What is relevant is whether the crime, in the form of fraud etc., was perpetrated by the servant/employee during the course of his employment. Once this is established, the employer would be liable for the employee’s wrongful act, even if they amount to a crime. Whether the fraud is committed during the course of employment would be a question of fact that needs to be determined in the facts and circumstances of the case. (Para 38) Pradeep Kumar v. Post Master General, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 139 : (2022) 6 SCC 351

Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020 – Transfer Petitions filed by RBI – All the writ petitions which have been filed before the High Courts challenging the validity of the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act 2020 and/or the circular dated 25 June 2021 shall stand transferred to the High Court of Madras. Reserve Bank of India v. Big Kancheepuram Cooperative Town Bank Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 850

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 226 – The appellant was serving as a Branch Officer of a Bank. A complaint was made against him by one borrower of the Bank alleging that he had sanctioned the limit of loan of Rs.1,50,000/­ which was later on reduced to Rs.75,000/ – when the borrower refused to give bribe demanded by him. The disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him. The inquiry officer held that most of the charges were proved. The disciplinary authority/Chairman of the Bank passed an order of removal of the appellant from service. The Appellate Authority dismissed the appeal filed by him. The Uttarakhand High Court also dismissed the writ petition confirming the order of removal from service. Partly allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court held that removal of service can be said to be disproportionate to the charges and misconduct held to be proved. Therefore, the High Court order was modified to the extent substituting the punishment from that of removal of service to that of compulsory retirement. Umesh Kumar Pahwa v. Uttarakhand Gramin Bank, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 155 : AIR 2022 SC 1041 : (2022) 4 SCC 385

Consumer Protection Act, 1986; Section 2(1)(d)(ii) – Consumer complaint alleging premature encashment of Joint Fixed Deposit by bank in contravention of the terms and conditions is maintainable – A person who avails of any service from a bank will fall under the purview of the definition of a ‘consumer’ under the 1986 Act. As a consequence, it would be open to such a consumer to seek recourse to the remedies provided under the 1986 Act. (Para 19) Arun Bhatiya v. HDFC Bank, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 696

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010; Section 12(1A) and 17(1) – Opening of main FCRA account in the designated bank as per the law made by the Parliament in that regard, cannot be brushed aside on the specious argument of some inconvenience being caused to the registered associations. (Para 76) Noel Harper v. Union of India, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 355 : 2022 (5) SCALE 775

One Time Settlement Scheme – The borrower as a matter of right cannot claim that though it has not made the payment as per the sanctioned OTS Scheme still it be granted further extension as a matter of right – Bank mutually can agree to extend the time which is permissible under Section 62 of the 18 Indian Contract Act. State Bank of India v. Arvindra Electronics Pvt. Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 908 : AIR 2022 SC 5517

One Time Settlement Scheme (OTS) – High Court ought not to have granted further extension de hors the sanctioned OTS Scheme exercising the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India – Directing the Bank to reschedule the payment under OTS would tantamount to modification of the contract which can be done by mutual consent under Section 62 of the Indian Contract Act. State Bank of India v. Arvindra Electronics Pvt. Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 908 : AIR 2022 SC 5517

Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993; Section 19, 31 – An independent suit filed by the borrower against the bank or financial institution cannot be transferred to be tried along with application under the RDB Act, as it is a matter of option of the defendant in the claim under the RDB Act – Since there is no such power, there is no question of transfer of the suit whether by consent or otherwise – Proceedings under the RDB Act will not be impeded in any manner by filing of a separate suit before the Civil Court – It is not open to a defendant, who may have taken recourse to the Civil Court, to seek a stay on the decision of the DRT awaiting the verdict of his suit before the Civil Court as it is a matter of his choice. (Para 49- 56) Bank of Rajasthan Ltd. v. VCK Shares & Stock Broking Services Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 941

Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993; Section 17, 18, 19 – Jurisdiction of a Civil Court to try a suit filed by a borrower against a Bank or Financial Institution is not ousted by virtue of the scheme of the RDB Act in relation to the proceedings for recovery of debt – There is no provision in the RDB Act by which the remedy of a civil suit by a defendant in a claim by the bank is ousted, but it is the matter of choice of that defendant. Such a defendant may file a counterclaim, or may be desirous of availing of the more strenuous procedure established under the Code, and that is a choice which he takes with the consequences thereof. (Para 45, 56) Bank of Rajasthan Ltd. v. VCK Shares & Stock Broking Services Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 941

Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993; Section 17, 18, 19 – Jurisdiction of a Civil Court to try a suit filed by a borrower against a Bank or Financial Institution is not ousted by virtue of the scheme of the RDB Act in relation to the proceedings for recovery of debt – There is no provision in the RDB Act by which the remedy of a civil suit by a defendant in a claim by the bank is ousted, but it is the matter of choice of that defendant. Such a defendant may file a counterclaim, or may be desirous of availing of the more strenuous procedure established under the Code, and that is a choice which he takes with the consequences thereof. (Para 45, 56) Bank of Rajasthan Ltd. v. VCK Shares & Stock Broking Services Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 941

Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993; Section 19, 31 – An independent suit filed by the borrower against the bank or financial institution cannot be transferred to be tried along with application under the RDB Act, as it is a matter of option of the defendant in the claim under the RDB Act – Since there is no such power, there is no question of transfer of the suit whether by consent or otherwise – Proceedings under the RDB Act will not be impeded in any manner by filing of a separate suit before the Civil Court – It is not open to a defendant, who may have taken recourse to the Civil Court, to seek a stay on the decision of the DRT awaiting the verdict of his suit before the Civil Court as it is a matter of his choice. (Para 49- 56) Bank of Rajasthan Ltd. v. VCK Shares & Stock Broking Services Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 941

Reserve Bank of India – Right to Information Act, 2005 – Disclosure of defaulters list, inspection reports etc in relation to banks – Right to Privacy- Supreme Court expresses prima facie doubts about its 2015 judgment in the case Reserve Bank of India v Jayantilal N. Mistry which had held that the Reserve Bank of India was obliged to disclose defaulters list, inspection reports, annual statements etc., related to banks under the Right to Information Act – Says the judgment did not take into consideration the aspect of balancing the right to information and the right to privacy. HDFC Bank v. Union of India, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 811

Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 – Banking Regulation Act, 1949 – RBI has wide supervisory jurisdiction over all Banking Institutions in the country- For ‘public interest’ the RBI is empowered to issue any directive to any banking institution, and to prohibit alienation of an NBFC’s property. (Para 8.7) Small Industries Development Bank of India v. Sibco Investment Pvt. Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 7 : (2022) 3 SCC 56

Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 – Banking Regulation Act, 1949 – RBI as was declared is not only vested with curative powers but also preventive powers, as was held in Ganesh Bank of Kurundwad Ltd. Vs. Union of India. Hence, it is not necessary for the bank to wait for a direction to be violated, and then launch penal actions against the offenders. But the RBI can also issue directions to ensure that the relevant orders/directions are effectively followed. (Para 8.13) Small Industries Development Bank of India v. Sibco Investment Pvt. Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 7 : (2022) 3 SCC 56

Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934; Chapter III B – Chapter III­B of the RBI Act provides a supervisory role for the RBI to oversee the functioning of NBFCs, from the time of their birth (by way of registration) till the time of their commercial death (by way of winding up), all activities of NBFCs automatically come under the scanner of RBI. (Para 6.19, 7) Nedumpilli Finance Company Ltd. v. State of Kerala, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 464 : (2022) 7 SCC 394

Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934; Chapter III B – Kerala Money Lenders Act, 1958- Gujarat Money Lenders Act, 2011 – The Kerala Act and the Gujarat Act will have no application to NBFCs registered under the RBI Act and regulated by RBI – Though the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Pawn Brokers Act and the Tamil Nadu Money Lenders Act not examined, the principles of law laid down herein, would apply equally to these State enactments also. (Para 11.2)) Nedumpilli Finance Company Ltd. v. State of Kerala, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 464 : (2022) 7 SCC 394

Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934; Chapter III B – Money Lenders Act, 1958 (Kerala) – The moment the Parliament stepped in to codify the law relating to registration and regulation of NBFCs, by inserting certain provisions in Chapter III­B of the RBI Act, the same would cast a shadow on the applicability (even assuming it is applicable) of the provisions of the Kerala Act to NBFCs registered under the RBI Act and regulated by RBI – In cases of this nature, Article 246(1) would squarely apply. (Para 8, 8.3) Nedumpilli Finance Company Ltd. v. State of Kerala, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 464 : (2022) 7 SCC 394

Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934; Section 45JA(1) – The words “relating to” appearing in Section 45­JA(1) can be taken to restrict the power of RBI to give directions, only in relation to the matters mentioned after the words “relating to” – The items mentioned after the words “relating to” can only be taken to be illustrative and not exhaustive. (Para 7.5-7.77) Nedumpilli Finance Company Ltd. v. State of Kerala, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 464 : (2022) 7 SCC 394

Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934; Section 45L(1)(b) – Power upon the RBI to give directions to NBFCs “relating to the conduct of business by them” – To say that RBI has no power in respect of such an important aspect such as the rate of interest chargeable on the loans, may not be correct. (Para 7.8) Nedumpilli Finance Company Ltd. v. State of Kerala, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 464 : (2022) 7 SCC 394

Right to Privacy – In view of the judgment of this Court in the case of Jayantilal N. Mistry, the RBI is entitled to issue directions to the petitioners/Banks to disclose information even with regard to the individual customers of the Bank. In effect, it may adversely affect the individuals’ fundamental right to privacy. (Para 39) HDFC Bank v. Union of India, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 811

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 – Central Excise Act, 1944 – Section 11E – Provisions contained in the SARFAESI Act, 2002 will have an overriding effect on the provisions of the Central Excise Act of 1944 – secured creditor will have priority over the dues of the Central Excise Department. (Para 43, 44, 47) Punjab National Bank v. Union of India, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 208 : AIR 2022 SC 1475 : (2022) 7 SCC 260

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 – Section 14(1) – It is open to the District Magistrate or the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate can appoint an advocate commissioner to assist him/her in execution of the order passed under Section 14(1) – Advocate must be regarded as an officer of the court and, in law, subordinate to the concerned CMM/DM within their jurisdiction. (Para 44) NKGSB Cooperative Bank Ltd. v. Subir Chakravarty, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 212 : AIR 2022 SC 1325 : (2022) 10 SCC 286

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 – Section 14(1) – Being an officer of the court and appointed by the CMM/DM, the acts done by the Advocate Commissioner would receive immunity under Section 14(3) of the 2002 Act — as an officer authorised by the CMM/DM – There must be a presumption that if an advocate is appointed as commissioner for execution of the orders passed by the CMM/DM under Section 14(1) of the 2002 Act, that responsibility and duty will be discharged honestly and in accordance with rules of law. (Para 42) NKGSB Cooperative Bank Ltd. v. Subir Chakravarty, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 212 : AIR 2022 SC 1325 : (2022) 10 SCC 286

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 – Section 14(1A) – Officer subordinate – “Functional subordination” test applied – There is intrinsic de jure functional subordinate relationship between the CMM/DM and the advocate being an officer of the court – It does not follow that the advocate so appointed needs to be on the rolls in the Office of the CMM/DM or in public service. (Para 42) NKGSB Cooperative Bank Ltd. v. Subir Chakravarty, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 212 : AIR 2022 SC 1325 : (2022) 10 SCC 286

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 – Section 14 – Taking of possession of the secured assets and documents relating thereto and to forward the same to the secured creditor at the earliest opportunity is a ministerial act. (Para 28) NKGSB Cooperative Bank Ltd. v. Subir Chakravarty, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 212 : AIR 2022 SC 1325 : (2022) 10 SCC 286

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 – Section 14 – While entrusting the act of taking possession of the secured assets consequent to the order passed under Section 14(1) of the 2002 Act to any officer subordinate to him, the CMM/DM ought to exercise prudence in appointing such person who will be capable of executing the orders passed by him. Merely because he has power to appoint “any” officer subordinate to him, it would not permit him to appoint a peon or clerk, who is incapable of handling the situation. (Para 30) NKGSB Cooperative Bank Ltd. v. Subir Chakravarty, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 212 : AIR 2022 SC 1325 : (2022) 10 SCC 286

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 – Section 13 (8) – By paying the highest bid amount / reserve price, the borrower cannot be discharged of its liability of the outstanding due to be paid to the bank – Unless and until he was ready to deposit / pay the entire amount payable together with all costs and expenses with the secured creditor, the borrower cannot be discharged from the entire liability outstanding. (Para 7.1) Bank of Baroda v. Karwa Trading Company, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 253 : AIR 2022 SC 1209 : (2022) 5 SCC 168

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 – The High Court overlooked the fact that there was no independent instrument of PoA and that in any case, the power of sale of a secured asset flowed out of the provisions of the Securitisation Act, 2002 and not out of an independent instrument of PoA. Section 2(zd) of the Securitisation Act, 2002 defines a ‘secured creditor’ to mean and include an Asset Reconstruction Company. The appellant has acquired the financial assets of OBC in terms of Section 5(1)(b) of the Securitisation Act, 2002. Therefore, under sub­section (2) of Section 5 of the Securitisation Act, 2002, the appellant shall be deemed to be the lender and all the rights of the Bank vested in them. (Para 9) Asset Reconstruction Co. v. Chief Controlling Revenue Authority, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 415 : 2022 (6) SCALE 657

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement Security Interest Act, 2002; Section 14 – The District Magistrate, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate is not a persona designata for the purposes of Section 14 of the SARFAESI Act – Additional District Magistrate and Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate can exercise powers under Section 14. (Para 9-12) R.D. Jain and Co. v. Capital First Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 634 : AIR 2022 SC 4820

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement Security Interest Act, 2002; Section 14 – Step to be taken by the CMM/DM under Section 14 is a ministerial step. While disposing of the application under Section 14 of the SARFAESI Act, no element of quasi ­judicial function or application of mind would require -The Magistrate has to adjudicate and decide the correctness of the information given in the application and nothing more. Therefore, Section 14 does not involve an adjudicatory process qua points raised by the borrower against the secured creditor taking possession of secured assets. (Para 8) R.D. Jain and Co. v. Capital First Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 634 : AIR 2022 SC 4820

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement Security Interest Act, 2002; Section 14 (1A) – it is open to the CMM/DM to appoint an advocate and authorise him/her to take possession of the secured assets and documents relating thereto and to forward the same to the secured creditor under Section 14(1A) of the SARFAESI Act. (Para 6.2) R.D. Jain and Co. v. Capital First Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 634 : AIR 2022 SC 4820

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002; Section 17 – The reason for providing a time limit of 45 days for filing an application under Section 17 can easily be inferred from the purpose and object of the enactment – SARFAESI Act is enacted for quick enforcement of the security. (Para 12) Bank of Baroda v. Parasaadilal Tursiram Sheetgrah Pvt. Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 671 : AIR 2022 SC 3803

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002; Section 14 – The powers exercisable by CMM/DM under Section 14 of the SARFAESI Act are ministerial step and Section 14 does not involve any adjudicatory process qua points raised by the borrowers against the secured creditor taking possession of the secured assets – Once all the requirements under Section 14 of the SARFAESI Act are complied with/satisfied by the secured creditor, it is the duty cast upon the CMM/DM to assist the secured creditor in obtaining the possession as well as the documents related to the secured assets even with the help of any officer subordinate to him and/or with the help of an advocate appointed as Advocate Commissioner- At that stage, the CMM/DM is not required to adjudicate the dispute between the borrower and the secured creditor and/or between any other third party and the secured creditor with respect to the secured assets and the aggrieved party to be relegated to raise objections in the proceedings under Section 17 of the SARFAESI Act, before Debts Recovery Tribunal. (Para 5.2) Balkrishna Rama Tarle v. Phoenix ARC Pvt. Ltd., 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 799 : AIR 2022 SC 4756

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002; Section 13(2) – Security Interest (Enforcement) Rules, 2002 – It is true that the secured creditor is under an obligation to undertake the exercise and cross­check the description of the mortgaged property at the stage when the initial proceedings under Section 13(2) are initiated or in the later consequential proceedings, but at the same time, mere typographical error due to inadvertence which has not caused any prejudice to the borrowers, that in itself could not be considered to be the ground to annul the process held by the secured creditor which, in our view, is in due compliance with the requirement as contemplated under the provisions of Rules, 2002. (Para 37) Varimadugu Obi Reddy v. B. Sreenivasulu, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 967

Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002 ; Section 13(2) – A writ petition against the private financial institution – ARC – against the proposed action/actions under Section 13(4) of the SARFAESI Act can be said to be not maintainable – The ARC as such cannot be said to be performing public functions which are normally expected to be performed by the State authorities. During the course of a commercial transaction and under the contract, the bank/ARC lent the money to the borrowers herein and therefore the said activity of the bank/ARC cannot be said to be as performing a public function which is normally expected to be performed by the State authorities. 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. (Para 12) Phoenix ARC v. Vishwa Bharati Vidya Mandir, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 45 : AIR 2022 SC 1045 : (2022) 5 SCC 345

Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002 ; Section 13(2) – The secured creditor and/or its assignor have a right to recover the amount due and payable to it from the borrowers- The High Court to be extremely careful and circumspect in exercising its discretion while granting stay in such matters. (Para 13.2) Phoenix ARC v. Vishwa Bharati Vidya Mandir, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 45 : AIR 2022 SC 1045 : (2022) 5 SCC 345

Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002; Section 34 – Section 34 shall be applicable only in a case where the Debt Recovery Tribunal and/or Appellate Tribunal is empowered to decide the matter under the SARFAESI Act. The plaintiff was not challenging the sale/sale certificate. (Para 5.2) Leelamma Mathew v. Indian Overseas Bank, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 973

Security Interest (Enforcement) Rules, 2002; Rule 8 – Duty of the authorized officer to take all precautions before putting the secured asset to sell – Before effecting sale of the immovable property (secured assets) the authorised officer shall obtain valuation of the property from an approved valuer and in consultation with the secured creditor and fix the reserve price of the property and may sell the whole or any part of such immovable secured asset. As per Section 54 of the Transfer of Property Act the seller was bound to disclose any buyer any material defect in the property of which the buyer is not aware and which the buyer could not ordinarily discover. (Para 5.4) Leelamma Mathew v. Indian Overseas Bank, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 973

Security Interest (Enforcement) Rules, 2002; Rules 8, 9 – The sale would be complete only when the auction purchaser makes the entire payment and the authorised officer, exercising the power of sale, shall issue a certificate of sale of the property in favour of the purchaser in the Form given in Appendix V to the said Rules – The sale certificate does not require registration and the sale process is complete on issuance of the sale certificate. (Para 32-33) Indian Overseas Bank v. RCM Infrastructure Ltd; 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 496 : AIR 2022 SC 2687 : (2022) 8 SCC 516

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