18 November 2019


High Court of Calcutta

Raghu Hari Dalmia Vs. Reserve Bank of India and Ors.




Writ court cannot sit as an appellate authority over decision taken by competent authority

The present writ petition has been preferred primarily praying for issuance of a writ of or in the nature of Mandamus directing the Respondents to forthwith recall, rescind, withdraw and/or cancel the order dated 20th November, 2018 passed by the Review Committee of the Respondent No. 2 bank declaring the petitioner to be a willful defaulter under the Master Circular published by the Reserve Bank of India on 1st July, 2015.

Indisputably, on the basis of a sanction letter loan was disbursed on 21st May, 2012 and such facility was required to be utilized for setting up of Captive Power Plant (CPP). The said fund had not been utilized for such purpose. The charge quoted in the notice prior to declaration as willful defaulter runs as follows: 'A part of the sanctioned limit was sanctioned for setting up a Captive Power Plant, you availed the disbursement of the said loan, however, subsequently decided not to go ahead with the Captive Power Plant. After insistence by the Consortium members to refund the amount of such availed loan, you stated that the loan was used to fund the cost escalation in other areas of the pellet project, however you have agreed to refund around Rs. 38.50 Crs to the lenders, which has not been paid till date. Hence this is a case of Fund Diversion'

In reply to the said notice it has been stated that, the amount saved on CPP was used to fund the cost escalation towards mechanised raw material handling system and there was a commitment on the part of PMPL towards refund of an amount of Rs. 38 crores. The said amount has not been refunded. A letter dated 20th July, 2015, as referred to in the review committee order, has been produced by Mr. Mitra which clearly shows that the total outstanding was of an amount of Rs. 38.49 crores.

The contents of the decision is to be considered together and not in isolation. A particular clause cannot be taken up and highlighted. For the purpose of setting up CPP, loan was sanctioned in the year 2012. In the replies submitted by the Petitioners, there had been a commitment towards refund of the amount of Rs. 38 crores but the same has been withheld.

It is well settled that, the writ Court cannot sit as an appellate authority over the decision taken by the competent authority. The order impugned does not suffer from any violation of the principles of natural justice. The replies submitted by the Petitioners, were duly considered and a reasoned order has been passed by the Review Committee and it is also not a case that the impugned order has been passed on extraneous consideration. In view thereof, present Court is reluctant to exercise any discretion in favour of the Petitioner and the writ petition is, accordingly, dismissed.

Tags : Willful defaulter Declaration Validity

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