December 17, 2016 5:10:59 pm
Paving way for the transfer of office of Debt Recovery Tribunal (III) from South Mumbai to adjoining Navi Mumbai, the Bombay High Court dismissed a petition challenging the decision made by the Ministry of Finance. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak on December 14 dismissed a petition filed by Debt Recovery Tribunal Bar Association challenging the Union government’s decision to transfer the DRT (III) office from South Mumbai to Vashi in Navi Mumbai due to space shortage.
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The petitioner contended that the decision was arbitary and malafide and was taken without considering the hardships that the lawyers and litigants would face. The Union Government, however, justified its decision by arguing that there was shortage of space in the South Mumbai office and that there was also several other maintenance issues like leakage and so on.
The High Court after hearing both the sides opined that no good grounds were made out to intervene with the decision to shift the location of DRT (III) to the new site in Vashi. Refusing the accept the petitioner’s contention that the move was “malafide and arbitrary”, the court said, “It is more of a policy decision of the authorities concerned to set up such establishment. They (authority) have come out with reasonable explanation as to why the present location was preferred and chosen in comparison to other sites indicated or suggested by the petitioner.”
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The bench noted that there has to be proper space and infrastructure to be provided for staff as well as to store records and other documents. “We expect some breathing space for proper discharge of duties. There has to be decent and basic facilities congenial for the Officers, Member and Chairperson of the DRT. If the space available at the existing building has shortage of about 7000 sq.ft it would be nothing but expecting the DRT to work in a suffocated and restricted area,” the court said.
The court further said that the new office building where the DRT is sought to be shifted is well connected by road as well as railway transportation. It further said there was enough parking space available inside and outside the premises.
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