Financial Service Provider under the clutch of IBC? Nature of the “debt” vs. Nature of the “debtor”

-Megha Mittal

(resolution@vinodkothari.com)

In a first of its kind, the Hon’ble National Company Law Tribunal, Principal Bench at New Delhi (“NCLT”) vide its order dated 04.11.2019[1] in the matter of Apeejay Trust v. Aviva Life Insurance Co. India Ltd., has initiated corporate insolvency resolution process against the Corporate Debtor, despite it being a financial service provider under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“Code”).

In the above pretext, one may recall the order of the Hon’ble National Company Law Appellate Tribunal in the matter of Randhiraj Thakur v. Jindal Saxena Financial Services[2], wherein the Hon’ble Appellate Tribunal upheld that financial service providers shall not fall within the ambit of the Code. The order of the Hon’ble NCLAT in the said matter has been discussed in our articles “NBFCs and IBC- the Lost Connection[3] and “State of Perplexity- Applicability of IBC on NBFCs”[4].

In this article, the author has made a humble attempt to analyse the order of the Hon’ble NCLT based on its facts, observations and the extant law.

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Case Update: SC extended the CIRP by exercising Article 142 of the Constitution

-Priya Udita

(resolution@vinodkothari.com)

The Supreme Court (SC) in the case of Jaiprakash Associate Ltd. & Anr. v. IDBI Bank Ltd. & Anr. dealt with 2 issues. Firstly, whether the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) or National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) can exclude any period from the statutory period in exercise of inherent powers sans any express provision in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (I&B Code) in that regard. Secondly, whether the bidders can submit revised resolution plan after they were originally rejected by Committee of Creditors (CoC).

 

Dealing with the first issue, the SC in its order dated November 6, 2019 held that an extraordinary situation had arisen because of the constant experimentation which went about at different level due to lack of clarity on matters crucial to the decision making process of CoC. Besides that, the SC held that the case on hand is a classic example of how the entire process got embroiled in litigation initially before court and adjudicating authorities due to confusion or lack of clarity in respect of foundational processes to be followed by the CoC. Depending upon the uniqueness and unanimity of the stakeholders and resolution applicant to eschew the liquidation of corporate debtor, the SC by exercising its power under Article 142 of the constitution reckons 90 days extended period from the date of this order instead of the date of commencement of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2019.

With regard to second issue, the SC relied on the sub clause (7) of Regulation 36B inserted with effect from 4th July, 2018, dealing with the request for resolution plans. It postulates that the resolution professional may, with the approval of the CoC, reissue request for resolution plans, if the resolution plans received in response to earlier request are not satisfactory, subject to the condition that the request is made to all prospective resolution applicants in the final list. Consequently, applying the principle underlying Regulation 36B(7), the SC found it appropriate to permit the interim resolution applicant to reissue request for resolution plans to the two bidders and/or to call upon them to submit revised resolution plans, which can be then placed before the CoC for its due consideration.

However, the SC has clarified that this order is issued in an exceptional case and it will not be construed as a precedent. Further, the SC made it clear that this order does not answers to the question of law as to whether NCLT or NCLAT has the power to issue direction or order inconsistent with the statutory timelines and stipulations specified in the I&B Code or regulations.

Though the SC has extended the CIRP period in an exceptional case, it is still not sufficient to complete the process within the stipulated time period as there are constant amendments being done for the effective implementation of the I&B Code. The NCLT/NCLAT is burdened with the application for clarification on the various procedures or regulation while the time for resolution flies. There are numerous cases pending before adjudicating authorities whose stipulated time period for the resolution has been surpassed.

IBC Amendment Bill, 2019: Will it bring distributive justice

By Vinod Kothari

(resolution@vinodkothari.com)

Insolvency laws are all about distributive justice, inspired by the pari passu rule enunciated centuries ago. The key theme of insolvency laws is that since there is a shortfall of assets to pay off everyone, everyone with similar ranking of priorities should be paid proportionately. Read more

Supreme Court’s status-quo on Essar Steel-How the tables could turn for ArcelorMittal!

– CS Megha Mittal

(mittal@vinodkothari.com)

[This article is intended for academic debate on the law around powers of the Committee of Creditors vis-à-vis the adjudicatory authorities, as it continues to evolve] Read more

LIABILITY OF GUARANTOR AND PRINCIPAL DEBTOR IS CO-EXTENSIVE AND NOT IN ALTERNATIVE

By Richa Saraf (legal@vinodkothari.com)

In the case of Sanjeev Shriya v. State Bank of India & Ors.[1], the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court has barred parallel proceedings in Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) and National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Below we discuss the implications and analyse the judgment:

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ROLE OF ADJUDICATING AUTHORITY IN APPROVING/ REJECTING A RESOLUTION PLAN

By Richa Saraf and Ananya Raghavendra (resolution@vinodkothari.com)

The insolvency resolution process of Binani Cements have been through various ups- and downs. On 19.11.2018, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Rajputana Properties Pvt. Ltd. v. UltraTech Cement Ltd. & Ors. dismissed Dalmia Bharat’s plea to seek stay on Ultratech’s bid for Binani Cement, upholding the UltraTech Cement’s bid for Binani Cement sale. Previously, on 14.11.2018, the NCLAT had also held UltraTech’s offer for Binani Cement as valid, stating that Dalmia Bharat’s offer was discriminatory against some creditors[1]. Read more

LIBERAL INTERPRETATION OF SECTION 8 AND 9(3)(C) OF THE IBC BY THE APEX COURT

By Vishal Hablani (resolution@vinodkothari.com) Read more