The Bombay High Court said the Centre’s delay in allotting space for the Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT) was causing loss to the Maharashtra government while borrowers from banks were benefiting.
The DRT, which deals with debt recovery cases involving banks, financial institutions and their customers, is non-functional since three months.
The tribunal had been operating out of the Scindia House building in the Ballard Estate area in South Mumbai, but the premises were shutdown on June 2 following a fire.
The bar association of the tribunal approached the high court last month, seeking a direction to the Union government to allot appropriate space for the DRT’s office.
Earlier, the Union government had informed the court that it identified office spaces at the MTNL building in South Mumbai and in the Mumbai Port Trust Area for the DRT.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the Union government, told the court that one floor of the MTNL building would be made available for the tribunal after two weeks.
A division bench of Justices A S Oka and M S Sonak said when the petition was heard on August 13, the Centre had said it would make available three floors in the MTNL building within a period of 15 days.
“Now the government is saying only one floor would be available and that too after two weeks. Is the government so helpless that it cannot allot space for the DRT?” Justice Oka said.
“Three months have passed since the DRT is non-functional. This delay is causing loss to the government and borrowers from banks are having a great time,” he said.
The court posted the petition for further hearing on August 31 and asked the government to submit an undertaking, stating by when the DRT would start functioning again.