$~35 * IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI + W.P.(C) 10193/2016 & CMs No.40268, 40269 & 40270/2016 1. RATUL PURI ........ Petitioner
Through Mr.Rajiv Nayar, Sr.Advocate with Mr.Rishi Agrawala, Ms.Maneesha Dhir, Ms.Niyati Kohli, Ms.Aayushi S.Khazanchi, Mr.Karan Luthra and Mr.Vaibhav Tyagi, Advocates versus STATE BANK OF BIKANER AND JAIPUR Through Ms.Kittu Bajaj, Advocate with Mr.Sunil Kumar, Law Officer of SBBJ ..... Respondent CORAM: HON'BLE MS. JUSTICE HIMA KOHLI % The present petition has been filed by the petitioner praying inter alia ORDER
2610.2016 for issuance of a writ of certiorari, quashing/setting aside the letter dated 01.10.2016 issued by the respondent/Bank to the effect that if he has any grievance against the decision of the Bank for inclusion of his name in the list of Wilful Defaulters, he may send a reply in writing within 15 days from the date of receipt of the said letter.
2. Mr. Rajiv Nayar, learned Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioner states that this is the second round of litigation that the petitioner has had to initiate against the respondent/Bank. Earlier hereto, the respondent/Bank had issued a similar notice dated 31.12.2015, addressed to Moser Baer India W.P.(C)10193/2016 Page 1 of 5 Ltd., the petitioner, described as a guarantor of the captioned company and one Sh.Sanjay Jain, described as a Director of the said company, proposing to include their names in the RBI/Credit Information Companies’ List of Wilful Defaulters.
3. Aggrieved by the aforesaid letter, the petitioner had filed a writ petition, registered as WP(C) No.367/2016 which was disposed of vide order dated 151.2016 by relegating the petitioner to make a representation/objection against the impugned letter and for a hearing before the Identification Committee On Wilful Defaulters. Further, it was directed that in the event the said Committee rejects the objection/representation of the petitioner, then the said decision shall be communicated to him, but will not be made public and the same will not be sent to the RBI/Credit Information Companies for a period of two weeks, with liberty to the petitioner to challenge the same, in accordance with law.
4. Pursuant thereto, the petitioner had submitted a representation dated 09.1.2016, before Identification Committee for Wilful Defaulters and was granted a personal hearing on 29.3.2016 whereafter, the respondent/Bank had communicated a letter dated 19.5.2016 to him stating inter alia that the Committee had upheld his submissions for exclusion of his name in the RBI/CIBIL and other CICs’ list of Wilful Defaulters and resultantly, his name was not being forwarded for inclusion in the list of Wilful Defaulters of M/s Moser Baer India Ltd. It was also stated in the said letter that that the Bank may initiate fresh proceedings against the petitioner for his identification as a wilful defaulter, upon having evidence that a wilful default had been committed by him as an erstwhile Director of the captioned company. W.P.(C)10193/2016 Page 2 of 5 5. Mr. Rajiv Nayar, learned Senior Advocate submits that after the aforesaid round of litigation was over, in less than five months, the petitioner received another notice dated 01.10.2016 from the respondent/bank stating inter alia that when he was a Director of the captioned company between the years 2001-2012, all the decisions were taken by him not only as a Director, but also as a key board member and it was his instance that various credit facilities were extended by the Bank to M/s Moser Baer India Ltd. which had turned a Non Performing Asset on 27.12.2014. The petitioner was granted an opportunity to make his submissions in writing within 15 days from the date of receipt of the said letter. It is submitted that the aforesaid notice is nothing but yet another attempt on the part of the respondent/Bank to reopen the entire issue which stands settled in view of its own decision dated 19.5.2016.
6. Ms. Kittu Bajaj, learned counsel who appears for the respondent/ Bank on advance notice disputes the aforesaid submission and states on instructions that the first notice dated 31.12.2015 issued by the respondent/Bank had described the petitioner as a “guarantor” of Moser Baer India Ltd. whereas the impugned notice dated 01.10.2016, has been issued to him in his capacity of a Director.
7. It has been enquired from learned counsel for the respondent/Bank as to why was the Bank required to issue as fresh notice to the petitioner when at the time of issuing first notice itself, it was aware of the fact that the petitioner was not only a Director but also a guarantor of the captioned company and the Committee was inclined to include his name in the said capacity as well in the list of wilful defaulters. It has also been asked as to whether the respondent/Bank prepares two separate lists; one in respect of W.P.(C)10193/2016 Page 3 of 5 guarantors who are wilful defaulters and the other in respect of Directors who are wilful defaulters.
8. Learned counsel for the respondent concedes that a common notice could have been issued by the Bank to the petitioner in his capacity of a guarantor and a Director of the captioned company. She states on instructions that the bank follows a procedure of preparing a combined list of defaulters.
9. In such circumstances, it is all the more incomprehensible as to why was the second notice was required to be issued to the petitioner by the respondent/Bank. Since the petitioner has already submitted a reply to the notice dated 1.10.2016 within the stipulated timeline and the said reply is pending consideration at the end of the respondent/Bank, it is deemed appropriate to direct the Identification Committee on Wilful defaulters of the Bank to consider the said representation and grant him a personal hearing, if so desired. In the event the Identification Committee deems it appropriate to reject the objection/ representation submitted by the petitioner and is of the opinion that his name ought to be included in the list of wilful defaulters, the said decision shall be communicated to him. However, the same shall not be brought into the public domain or forwarded to the RBI/Credit Information Companies for a period of two weeks to enable to the petitioner to challenge the said order, if so aggrieved, in accordance with law.
10. The petition is disposed of, along with the pending applications. However, having regard to the casual manner in which the respondent/Bank has proceeded in the present case to issue two sets of notices to the same person in two different capacities, in relation to the same company, resulting in two sets of legal proceedings, it is deemed appropriate to direct W.P.(C)10193/2016 Page 4 of 5 the head of the Legal Department of the respondent/Bank to file an affidavit within three weeks, explaining therein the reason therefor, particularly when only a single list of defaulters is maintained by the Bank which includes not only guarantors, but also Directors of companies who are wilful defaulters.
11. Limited to the aforesaid aspect, list on 08.12.2016. HIMA KOHLI, J OCTOBER26 2016 mk/ap W.P.(C)10193/2016 Page 5 of 5