The Supreme Court in an appeal relating to the auction has observed that a plea of limitation cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the determination of the applicant’s right and entitlement to monetary claims.

The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Sanjay Karol held, “Before us, it is argued that the appeal is perhaps barred with the efflux of time. We find this objection, in the attending facts and circumstances, to be untenable given the long¬standing pending litigation inter se the parties to the lis. As such, the plea of limitation cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the determination of the applicant's right and entitlement of monetary claims on merits.”

The issues before the Bench were regarding the rate and terms of interest to which the applicant would be entitled, and the determination of mesne profits.

Advocate Kunal Cheema appeared for the appellant while Advocates Rajeev K. Panday, Vivek Singh, and Sudhir Naagar appeared for the respondents.

In this case, an application was filed seeking clarification of the order passed by the Apex Court in an SLP whereby a judgment of the Bombay High Court upholding the setting aside sale of a property by the Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal was not interfered with. The auction sale confirmed in favour of the applicant (company) was set aside with the applicant entitled to a refund of the entire sale amount along with the accrued interest, if any, after deducting the mesne profits and/or losses.

There was long-standing litigation inter se the parties regarding such a transaction. The applicant deposited huge amounts as part of the auction bid in the year 2007 and it was held entitled to a simple interest @ 9% per annum which was against its claim for interest on such rate and terms as normally govern business transactions.

The Supreme Court after hearing the arguments of both parties noted, “… it cannot be disputed that the applicant is entitled to interest. … In normal course, we would have ourselves decided the same; however, considering the fact that the appeal in relation to it is pending before the adjudicatory authority, being Appeal No.8 of 2022, Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal, Mumbai, we refrain from doing so, enabling the said fact¬finding authority to do so, expeditiously and in accordance with the law.”

The Court directed that the parties shall appear before the appellate authority on May 1, 2023, and place on record a copy of the order.

“The appellate authority shall decide the appeal preferred by the applicant strictly on merits, in accordance with the law, expeditiously and because each day’s delay would only entail loss by way of the addition of amount payable as interest, shall decide the same within a period of two months”, further directed the Court.

The Court said that all parties shall fully cooperate and that the issue of limitation shall be deemed to have been closed.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the application.

Cause Title- Rockline Construction Company v. Doha Bank QSC & Ors.

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