Tribunal Can Have No More Jurisdiction Than What It Is Given By The Act Which Brings It Into Existences

A three judge bench of hon’ble Supreme Court in Upper Doab Sugar Mills Ltd. Vs. Shahdara (Delhi) Saharanpur light Railway Company Ltd. {1963 AIR 217; 1963 SCR (2) 333; Decided on 23/04/1962}, while dealing with the issue of the jurisdiction of the Railway Rates Tribunal, has held that when the tribunal has not been conferred with the jurisdiction to direct for refund, it cannot do so and observed as follows.

 

“The Tribunal can have no more jurisdiction than what it is given by the Act which brings it into existences; and if on a proper construction of the words of the statute we find that the Tribunal was not given any such jurisdiction we cannot clothe it with that jurisdiction on any consideration of convenience or equity or justice.

 

What the Tribunal has to do after a complaint is made is mentioned in s. 41 (1) itself. It is said there that the Tribunal shall hear and decide the complaint. The complaint being that something is unreasonable all that the Tribunal has to decide is whether that thing is unreasonable or not.

 

A finding that it is unreasonable does not involve any consideration or decision of what would flow from the finding. In other words, in making the complaint the complainant can ask only for a declaration that the rate or charge is unreasonable and it is only this declaratory relief which the Tribunal has been authorised to give.

 

There is no provision that the Tribunal can also give a consequential relief.

 

The only other thing which the Tribunal is authorised to do in connection with the complaint is to fix "such rate or charge as it consider reasonable". In the absence of anything to indicate to the contrary it is reasonable to think that this fixation can only be prospective, that is, the Tribunal in making this order fixing the reasonable rate or charge will mention a future date for this to come .into operation. Even if it was assumed for the sake of argument that the Tribunal can fix these rates from the date of the complaint that would not give the Tribunal any power to order refund.” (emphasis supplied)

 

Thus, a three judge bench of hon’ble Supreme Court in Upper Doab Sugar Mills (supra) has observed that in making the complaint the complainant can ask only for a declaration that the rate or charge is unreasonable and it is only this declaratory relief which the Railway Rates Tribunal has been authorised to give. There is no provision that the Railway Rates Tribunal can also give a consequential relief. By necessary implication, it may be safely concluded that, prima facie, the subject matter of enforcement of guarantee is not within the jurisdiction of DRT, because there is no provision in DRT Act that the DRT can also give a declaratory relief. Further, hon’ble Supreme Court in Nahar Industrial Enterprises Ltd vs Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp. {2009 (8) SCC 646; 2009 (2) DRTC 273 (SC); Decided on 29 July, 2009} has also observed that before it no declaratory relief can be sought for by the debtor.

DRT Has No Jurisdiction

























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