Writ Petition By Borrowers Challenging SARFAESI Proceedings Initiated By Private Banks/ARCs Not Maintainable
Case: Phoenix ARC Private Limited vs Vishwa Bharati Vidya Mandir
Coram: Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna
Case no.: CA 257-259 of 2022
Court Observation: “If proceedings are initiated under the SARFAESI Act and/or any proposed action is to be taken and the borrower is aggrieved by any of the actions of the private bank/bank/ARC, borrower has to avail the remedy under the SARFAESI Act and no writ petition would lie and/or is maintainable and/or entertainable.”
….It is required to be noted that a writ petition against the private financial institution – ARC – appellant herein under Article 226 of the Constitution of India against the proposed action/actions under Section 13(4) of the SARFAESI Act can be said to be not maintainable. In the present case, the ARC proposed to take action/actions under the SARFAESI Act to recover the borrowed amount as a secured creditor. The ARC as such cannot be said to be performing public functions which are normally expected to be performed by the State authorities. During the course of a commercial transaction and under the contract, the bank/ARC lent the money to the borrowers herein and therefore the said activity of the bank/ARC cannot be said to be as performing a public function which is normally expected to be performed 21 by the State authorities. If proceedings are initiated under the SARFAESI Act and/or any proposed action is to be taken and the borrower is aggrieved by any of the actions of the private bank/bank/ARC, borrower has to avail the remedy under the SARFAESI Act and no writ petition would lie and/or is maintainable and/or entertainable.
… The writ petitions have been filed against the proposed action to be taken under Section 13(4). As observed hereinabove, even assuming that the communication dated 13.08.2015 was a notice under Section 13(4), in that case also, in view of the statutory, efficacious remedy available by way of appeal under Section 17 of the SARFAESI Act, the High Court ought not to have entertained the writ petitions. Even the impugned orders passed by the High Court directing to maintain the status quo with respect to the possession of the secured properties on payment of Rs.1 crore only (in all Rs.3 crores) is absolutely unjustifiable. The dues are to the extent of approximately Rs.117 crores. The ad-interim relief has been continued since 2015 and the secured creditor is deprived of proceeding further with the action under the SARFAESI Act. Filing of the writ petition by the borrowers before the High Court is nothing but an abuse of process of Court. It appears that the High Court has initially granted an ex-parte ad-interim order mechanically and without assigning any reasons. The High Court ought to have appreciated that by passing such an interim order, the rights of the secured creditor to recover the amount due and payable have been seriously prejudiced. The secured creditor and/or its assignor have a right to recover the amount due and payable to it from the borrowers. The stay granted by the High Court would have serious adverse impact on the financial health of the secured 24 creditor/assignor. Therefore, the High Court should have been extremely careful and circumspect in exercising its discretion while granting stay in such matters. In these circumstances, the proceedings before the High Court deserve to be dismissed.”