Sale under Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002

Sale with symbolic possession:

In this case, the creditor did not have actual possession of the secured asset but only a constructive or symbolic possession. The transfer of the secured asset by the creditor therefore cannot be construed to be a complete transfer as contemplated by Section 8 of the Transfer of Property Act. The creditor nevertheless had a right to take actual possession of the secured assets and must therefore be held to be a secured creditor even after the limited transfer to the auction purchaser under the agreement

Thus, the entire interest in the property not having been passed on to the creditor in the first place, the creditor in turn could not pass on the entire interest to the auction purchaser and thus remained a secured creditor in the Act.

Fraud and collusion with SARFAESI purchaser:

A risk of  this kind taken up by an intending purchaser cannot lead to an inference of collusion. Mainly, the finding is based on the fact that the sale is a collusion because the auction purchaser was aware that a dispute between the parties was pending and still went ahead and made a bid for the property. It is not unusual in the sale of immovable properties to come across difficulties in finding suitable buyers for the property. We find that the property was eventually sold on the fourth auction, and all the auctions were duly advertised.

Conduct of debtor in SARFAESI:

the undisputed facts of the case are that a loan was taken by the debtor which was not paid, the debtor did not respond to a notice of demand and made a representation which was not replied to in writing by the creditor. The creditor, however, considered the proposals for repayment of the loan as contained in the representation in the course of negotiations which continued for a considerable amount of time. Several opportunities were in fact availed of by the debtor for the repayment of the loan after the proceedings were initiated by the secured creditor. The debtor failed to discharge its liabilities and eventually undertook that if the debtor fails to discharge the debt, the creditor would be entitled to take realize the secured assets.

As held, we are of the view that non-compliance of sub-section (3A) of Section 13 cannot be of any avail to the debtor whose conduct has been merely to seek time and not repay the loan as promised on several occasions.

Therefore, the debtor is not entitled for the discretionary equitable relief under Articles 226 and 136 of the Constitution of India in the present case.

[Source: ITC Ltd. vs. Blue Coast Hotels Ltd., decided by SC on 19 March 2018.]

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