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Apex court modifies HC order restraining DRT officer in Chandigarh, allows him to proceed with hearings

The Supreme Court termed an interim order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court as “unsustainable”. The high court on October 27 restrained Dhonchak from passing any adverse order while hearing a petition filed by the Debt Recovery Tribunal Bar Association.

A Supreme Court division bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar said, “Such an interim order of not to pass any adverse orders in any of the cases by the Judicial Member of the Tribunal cannot be passed and is unsustainable.” (File)

Terming an interim order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court “unsustainable”, the Supreme Court of India has allowed the Debts Recovery Tribunal-II Presiding Officer, M M Dhonchak, to proceed further with the hearing of the matters before him and decide the same on merits.

The high court on October 27 restrained Dhonchak from passing any adverse order while hearing a petition filed by the Debt Recovery Tribunal Bar Association and he challenged the high court order before the apex court.

A Supreme Court division bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar said, “Such an interim order of not to pass any adverse orders in any of the cases by the Judicial Member of the Tribunal cannot be passed and is unsustainable.”

The counsel for the respondent Bar Association conceded before the Supreme Court that let the concerned judicial member of the tribunal proceed further with the hearing of the cases and decide the same on merits and the members of the Bar should cooperate.

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However, the counsel requested that self respect of the members of the Bar Association should also be maintained and further submitted that the Bar had no objection if the impugned order was modified.

The division bench said, “In that view of the matter, we modify the impugned order passed by the High Court and permit the petitioner-herein, Judicial Member of the Tribunal to proceed further with the hearing of the matters before him and decide the same on merits.”

“It goes without saying that the Judicial Member as well as the Bar should always try to maintain cordial atmosphere/relationship as both are part of the justice delivery system and both are the two wheels of the chariot of justice. Therefore, it is expected that both the sides may respect each other…We impress upon the petitioner also to see that there is no unnecessary confrontation and he may decide the cases in accordance with law on its own merits. That does not mean that we have commented upon the conduct on the part of the advocates and/or the petitioner-Judicial Member of the Tribunal”, the bench said.

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Ordering to put up the matter on December 12, 2022, the Supreme Court added, “It goes without saying that wherever the applications are dismissed for non-prosecution, it will be open for the concerned parties to move for restoration, which may be considered positively with a view to see that no injustice is caused to the litigant.”

Dhonchak had challenged the high court order saying “the suspension of work/strike/boycott of the Courts by the advocates has no legal sanctity, whatsoever. The impugned order passed by the Hon’ble High Court has virtually legalised the illegal and contemptuous boycott of the Tribunal by the Advocates and the same is likely to have a devastating effect not only upon the independent functioning of the Tribunals but also the whole District Judiciary of the country”.

First published on: 07-12-2022 at 14:37 IST
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