The Union Finance Ministry Wednesday informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it had sent the complaints received about misbehaviour and financial irregularities carried out by Harcharan Singh, presiding officer of Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT)-I, Chandigarh, to the Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT) in New Delhi for comments.
Additional Solicitor General of India, Satya Pal Jain, informed the court that as per rules, the government before proceeding further, had to first seek comments of the DRAT in the complaints about any officer of the DRT. Jain further informed the court that as soon as the finance ministry received comments from the DRAT, it would take further action in the case as per law.
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However, answering the court’s query about the possibility of Harcharan Singh’s transfer from Chandigarh to some other station, Jain informed that as per rules, Harcharan Singh had been specifically appointed as presiding officer of DRT-I and he could not be transferred to another place. DRT-I hears cases related to Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. On this, the division bench comprising Justices S K Mittal and Mahavir Singh Chauhan ordered the finance ministry to submit a report in the case by the next date of hearing on October 20.
On Wednesday, the high court’s Registrar Vigilance also took some more time from the court to submit his preliminary inquiry report in the case after interacting with the DRT Bar Association’s members who had levelled various allegations against Harcharan Singh.
DRT Bar Association members had from July 1 to July 7 refrained from work in their protest against Harcharan Singh. The members had alleged that Harcharan Singh was not only in the habit of misbehaving with the advocates but also with various senior bank officers after summoning them and his attitude was vindictive against them. The high court had earlier ordered that no bank officials would be called in DRT.