The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday sought to know from the State Government whether it could spare the services of a Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies exclusively for the purpose of acting as an official liquidator of the defunct Madurai Urban Cooperative Bank.
A Division Bench comprising Justice D. Murugesan and Justice S. Nagamuthu directed a Special Government Pleader to obtain the response of the Government by Wednesday. The judges said that they would be constrained to appoint a retired district judge as liquidator if the Government does not give a positive reply.
Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed jointly by 10 depositors who had invested Rs.45,78,991 in the bank, the Bench asked the counsel representing various parties to submit a panel of retired district judges, residing in Madurai, along with their consent to take up the assignment.
The petitioners’ counsel F. Deepak stated that totally 30,576 people had made deposits to the tune of Rs.51.61 crore in the Cooperative Bank before the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cancelled its licence in January 2005 on charges of embezzlement of funds. He claimed that there was an inordinate delay in repayment of the money deposited.
The judges felt that appointment of a Deputy Registrar as a liquidator on temporary basis and assigning the job to him as an additional responsibility apart from his regular work was the reason for the delay. They were also not satisfied with a recent order passed by the Cooperative Department appointing a sub-registrar as the liquidator.
"When even a Deputy Registrar was not able to collect the amount from the borrowers, how a sub-registrar will be able to do the job?" Mr. Justice Nagamuthu wondered. "We can ask our Principal District Judge here to take up the assignment. But it might hinder his regular judicial work," Mr. Justice Murugesan added.