The Supreme Court, in International Asset Reconstruction Company Of India Ltd vs The Official Liquidator Of Aldrich Pharmaceuticals Ltd And Others, has held that the prescribed period of 30 days under Section 30(1) of the Recovery of Debts and Bankruptcy (RDB) Act, 1993, for preferring an appeal against the order of the recovery officer cannot be condoned by application of Section 5 of the Limitation Act.
In the instant case, an appeal was preferred by the aggrieved against the order of recovery officer before the tribunal beyond the prescribed period of 30 days and the tribunal held that Section 5 of the Limitation Act not being applicable to proceedings under Section 30 of the Act, the delay beyond the prescribed period could not be condoned.
In the appeal before the apex court, it was contended that the scheme of the RDB Act does not exclude application of the Limitation Act to proceedings under it. Referring to Section 2(b) of the Act and reading the same in conjunction with Rule 2(c) of the Debt Recovery Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1993, (hereinafter referred to as “the Rules”) it was urged that an “application” filed under Section 30(1) of the Act was also amenable to condonation under Section 24 of the RDB Act.
However, the bench comprising Justice AM Sapre and Justice Navin Sinha observed that the definition of “application” under Section 2(b) of the Act was confined to Section 19 of the RDB Act only. Its meaning could not be extended beyond that prescribed under the Act, by invoking Rule 2(c) which had to be read with Rule 4 providing the procedure for making an application, inter-alia, under Section 30 of the RDB Act in the prescribed Form II, the bench said.
Referring to Section 5 of the Limitation Act, the bench said the proceedings under the Act being before a statutory tribunal, it cannot be placed at par with proceedings before a court. The Tribunal shall therefore have no powers to condone delay, unless expressly conferred by the Statute creating it, the court observed.
“The exclusion of any provision for extension of time by the Tribunal in preferring an appeal under Section 30 of the Act makes it manifest that the legislative intent for exclusion was express,” the bench added, dismissing the appeals.