Preetha Shaji gets a breather; HC sets aside auction of her land

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar issued the order on the petition filed by M V Shaji, husband of Preetha, against the auction.

Published: 20th February 2019 01:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2019 07:03 AM   |  A+A-

Preetha Shaji and her husband in front of the property at Pathadippalam after the High Court verdict on Tuesday | Albin Mathew

By Express News Service

KOCHI:  In a major breather for Preetha Shaji, a housewife who has been waging a long-drawn battle for saving her house and property at Pathadipalam near Edappally, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday set aside the auction of her land in accordance with the recovery certificate issued by the Debt Recovery Tribunal. The court directed the family to pay an amount of `43,51,362.85 to the bank apart from Rs 1,89,000 to the person who bought the land through auction to get back their home.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar issued the order on the petition filed by M V Shaji, husband of Preetha, against the auction. The petitioner argued the auction sale conducted in respect of their property on February 24, 2014, was illegal. The auction sale was held after a lapse of more than eight years from the date of issuing recovery certificate in June 2005 and the sale was in violation of Section 29 of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, read with 68 B of the second schedule of the Income Tax Act.

The court said the recovery certificate was issued on September 9, 2005, and, as per the provisions the sale should have taken place on or before March 31, 2009. The family of Preetha has been facing eviction over the default of payment of a loan by one of her relatives. Shaji, her husband, stood as guarantor to one Sajan for a loan of `2 lakh by mortgaging his property comprising of 18 .2 cents at Pathadipalam in 1994. However, Sajan defaulted on the loan, the bank took steps to recover the amount from the guarantor. Ratheesh M N bought the property of Shaji in the auction conducted by the bank

The court directed the payments should be effected on or before March 15. “On the said payments being made, the mortgagor shall be entitled to return of the title deeds in respect of the mortgaged property from the bank and on receipt of it, they shall approach the village officer. If they failed to pay the amount within the time limit, the bank will be at liberty to seek a fresh recovery certificate from the recovery officer of the Tribunal,” held the court.

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