With a view to suggesting measures for reducing the mounting NPAs of the Banks and Financial Institutions in the public and private sector, the Government of India had appointed the Tiwari Committee, the Committee on Financial Systems headed by Shri M. Narasimham, former Governor of Reserve Bank of India and a High Level Committee headed by V.S.Hegde. On the basis of the recommendations of these Committees, the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Ordinance, 1993 was promulgated on 24.6.1993 to provide for establishment of Tribunals for expeditious adjudication and recovery of debts due to banks and financial institutions.
Later, the Ordinance was replaced by The Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 (DRT Act). An important highlight of this DRT Act is that it provides for establishment of single judicial forum for adjudication of cases as well as execution of the decrees passed for recovery of debts due to banks and financial institutions. Prior to the enactment of this Act, petitions had to be filed separately for adjudication of cases and execution proceedings in different courts depending upon their jurisdiction. In pursuance of the DRT Act, 1993 the Government of India has been setting up Debts Recovery Tribunals and Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunals in various parts of the country. So far, 33 DRTs and 5 DRATs have been set up in the country. At present, there are 5 DRTs in Tamilnadu out of which three DRTs are in Chennai, one in Madurai and one in Coimbatore. .
The Chennai Debts Recovery Tribunal was the second DRT to be set up in the Southern Region. It started functioning from 31.10.1996. Initially, it had jurisdiction over the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the Union Territories of Pondicherry and Lakshdweep. Subsequent to the setting up of DRTs at Ernakulam and Coimbatore and a second DRT in Chennai, the jurisdiction of Debts Recovery Tribunal, Chennai was revised and the work handled by the Tribunal was distributed among other DRTs. Presently the jurisdiction of DRT-I, Chennai extends to the areas of Chennai Nungambakkam-Egmore Taluk. The Debts Recovery Tribunal is also the appellate authority for appeals filed against the proceedings initiated by secured creditors under the Securatizaton and Re constrction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act. (SARFAESI Act)
A unique fact about the Debts Recovery Tribunal-I is that about 500 cases were transferred to it from the Original Jurisdiction of the Hon’ble High Court of Madras.
Apart from deciding cases filed under RDDBFI Act and SARFAESI Act, this Tribunal is also organizing Lok Adalats from time to time in collaboration with Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority for settlement of cases. These Lok Adalats provide an alternate forum for dispute redressal and have received overwhelming support from the Banks, Financial Institutions and other litigant public. The first Lok Adalat was inaugurated by Hon’ble Justice Shri B.Subashan Reddy, the then Chief Justice of Madras High Coiurt on 16.10.2001. Commencing the October, 2001, this Tribunal has organized 26 Lok Adalats as on 31.1.2006.
The Debts Recovery Tribunal is headed by a Presiding Officer. It has one Registrar, one Assistant Registrar and two Recovery Officers and other supporting staff. The total sanctioned strength of DRT-I, Chennai is 30.
Roll of Presiding Officers :