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‘Is Finance Minister sleeping?’ strikes Bombay HC to Centre over Tribunal

The Bombay High Court expressed anger over the non-functioning of the Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT), the Mumbai premises of which were closed following a fire over a month ago, and sought to know “if the finance minister of the country was sleeping” over the shutdown of a key body.

The court said while Mumbai was considered the financial capital of the country, the city-based DRT, which dealt with debt-recovery cases involving banks, financial institutions and their customers, was non-functional for over a month.

A division bench of justices AS Oka and Riyaz Chagla made the critical remarks while hearing a petition filed by the Debts Recovery Tribunal Bar Association, seeking a direction to the Union government to allot another space for the tribunal’s office in south Mumbai.

The DRT, located in the Scindia House building at Ballard Estate in south Mumbai, has been non-functional since a fire broke in the building on June 2.

The court sought to know from the Union government by when it would identify an alternative place for the tribunal.

“The government should be doing all this on their own, instead of the issue coming before us and the court passing orders,” Justice Oka observed.

“In the financial capital of the country, the Debts Recovery Tribunal is not functioning…Is the finance minister sleeping?” Justice Oka said.

The court posted the petition for further hearing on July 25 and asked the Centre to identify another place to house the tribunal by then.

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