Insolvency and Bankruptcy

Indian Insolvency Law responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic- Part-II

Introduction

On June 5, 2020, the President of India promulgated the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 (“Ordinance”), in furtherance to the economic measures announced by the Ministry of Finance[1] to support Indian businesses impacted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Ordinance has introduced the following amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“IBC”) (effective immediately):

  • Section 10A has been inserted in the IBC, restricting filing of any application for initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process (“CIRP”) of a corporate debtor (being a company or a limited liability partnership) for any default[2] arising after March 25, 2020, for a period of six months or such further period, not exceeding one year from March 25, 2020, as may be notified in this behalf (such period being “Specified Period”).[3]

Further, a proviso has been inserted in section 10A to specify that no application shall ever be filed for initiation of CIRP of a corporate debtor for the said default occurring during the Specified Period i.e. CIRP can never be initiated on the basis of a default during the Specified Period, even if the default is continuing after having occurred during the Specified Period.

  • A non-obstante clause has been inserted in to section 66 (Fraudulent trading or wrongful trading) of the IBC to give protection to the directors of a corporate debtor. Accordingly, no application can be filed by a resolution professional under sub-section 66(2), in respect of such defaults against which initiation of CIRP is suspended under Section 10A of the IBC.[4]


Continue Reading Indian Insolvency Law responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic- Part-II

Overriding the IBC’s over-rider

Insolvency resolution regimes, globally, function as an exception to otherwise accepted norms of commercial law.[1] The Indian Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“Code”), is no exception: a mere glance at the Code will display how it has a liberal sprinkling of non-obstante clauses.[2] From a specific dispute resolution mechanism, to an overarching carve out for insolvency resolution mechanism, the legislature has inserted non-obstante clauses in the Code as guidance of its intent. One would imagine that this would have ensured sufficient clarity for all stakeholders, avoided disputes and ensured timely insolvency resolution. Yet, as market participants try to understand the scope and intent of non-obstante clauses in the Code, such clauses continue to generate legal debate and litigation[3]. Perhaps, the stakes are too high for the parties to resist litigating. And some would argue not without good legal reason: after all, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has over the years identified exceptions[4] to the Latin maxim ‘leges posteriores priores contraries abrogant’ i.e. in the event two special statutes contain non obstante clauses, the non-obstante clause in the chronologically later special statute shall prevail[5].
Continue Reading Overriding the IBC’s Over-Rider?

Put option Holders - Financial Creditors under the IBC – Part 2

In our previous post, we discussed the La-Fin Judgments passed by the NCLAT (Pushpa Shah v. IL&FS Financial Services Limited[1]) and NCLT[2], which had held that a put option holder may be treated as a ‘financial creditor’ under the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC). A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court set aside the La-Fin Judgments in Jignesh Shah vs Union of India[3] primarily on the technical grounds of limitation without expressing a view on whether the NCLT and NCLAT were correct in treating a put option holder as a financial creditor.

This was followed by the landmark decision of Pioneer Urban and Infrastructure Limited vs Union of India (Pioneer Judgment)[4] in which the Supreme Court interpreted the provisions of Section 5(8)(f) of the IBC in a manner similar to that done in the La-Fin Judgments, stating that the provision would subsume within it “amounts raised under transactions which are not necessarily loan transactions, so long as they have the commercial effect of a borrowing” and “done with profit as the main aim.”
Continue Reading Put option Holders: Financial Creditors under the IBC? – Part 2

Indian Insolvency Law responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic

With more than three lakh confirmed cases and 14 thousand deaths across 190 countries, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has caused (and continues to cause) unprecedented disruptions in the global political, social and economic environment. India has not remained untouched from this. With almost 500 confirmed cases and the country in lock-down mode to prevent further outbreak, social and economic activities have come to a grinding halt.

The pandemic has forced governments across the world to impose restrictions on working and travel conditions as well as human movement. The severity of the situation requires quick and decisive action from the Government and all sections of the economy to prevent ‘deepening’ of the crisis.
Continue Reading Indian Insolvency Law responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Coronavirus - COVID19- Faqs

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a “pandemic” on March 11, 2020.

The outbreak and the rapid spread of COVID-19 has sent shock waves across global markets. It has disrupted supply chains, leading to the closure of several manufacturing facilities globally; serious disruption of air and sea traffic and closure of vital air routes, like the one between the US and Europe. This is turn has led to the collapse of stock markets around the world, leading to the loss of billions of dollars, which got wiped out in a matter of days. A combination of all these factors has led to a decline in the overall volume of global economic activity, forcing the world economy towards a possible recession. It is forcing Boards across the globe to confront a host of difficult questions on how business should be conducted during a global public health crisis.
Continue Reading COVID-19 : OFFICIALLY A PANDEMIC

Jaypee Judgement – Assessing it’s impact on the Indian financing landscape

Background

On February 26, 2020, the Hon’ble Supreme Court delivered its judgment in the Jaypee matter, bringing to a close the long drawn litigation between two sets of competing creditor claims i.e. those advanced by certain creditors of Jaypee Infratech Limited (JIL) and those of its holding company, Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL).

In its ruling, the Supreme Court addressed two key issues:
Continue Reading The `Jaypee Judgement’ – Assessing it’s impact on the Indian financing landscape

IBC Second Amendment Bill 2019

The edifice of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“IBC”) was conceptualised on ideas such as promoting ‘maximisation of value of assets’, ‘a transparent and predictable insolvency law’,  ‘avoiding destruction of value of the debtor’ and recognising the difference between ‘malfeasance and business failure’.[1] In the three years since the enactment of the IBC, many areas in the insolvency resolution process  have required judicial and legislative interventions to enable the process to achieve the desired results.

Among others, the ongoing investigations against insolvent entities and the risk of cancellation of critical government contracts during the insolvency process, were identified as key impediments to strategic interest in the stressed market. The introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 (“Bill”), by the Government, is a step that will help overcome such ‘critical gaps in the corporate insolvency framework’.[2]
Continue Reading IBC Second Amendment Bill, 2019: Finishing Touches to the Indian Restructuring Landscape

THE ROAD TO RESOLUTION OF FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS - IBC

 

The Imperative for a distinct framework for the resolution of financial firms

The financial sector is facing a combination of liquidity, governance and business issues, on account of which certain Non Banking Financial Companies (“NBFCs”) are facing solvency concerns.

The severe liquidity crunch for NBFCs was caused  as banks and other financial institutions have curtailed refinancing the loans of NBFCs on account of which several NBFCs and other financial institutions faced debt servicing and solvency issues. These have sought to be resolved through the Stressed Asset Directions issued by the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) on June 7, 2019. This was fraught with complexities given the diverse sets creditor, including market borrowings  each of whom were governed by different financial regulators.
Continue Reading The Road to Resolution of Financial Service Providers: A Firm First Step

Essar Steel India Limited - Supreme Court reinforces primacy of Creditors Committee in insolvency resolution

Essar Steel judgement of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which required that the secured financial creditors share recoveries in a resolution plan under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), inter se (irrespective of the ranking of their security positions) and with the trade creditors, on a pari passu basis, was considered a ”confusion in the different types of creditors” and a setback for the nascent but growing secondary debt market in India. The judgement perhaps was also opposed to the realities of credit risk assessments and pricing of the credit leading to an unsatisfactory resolution outcome for creditors in an insolvency situation.
Continue Reading Essar Steel India Limited: Supreme Court Reinforces Primacy of Creditors Committee in Insolvency Resolution

Put-option Holders - Financial Creditors Under the IBC

In its recent judgment in the case of Jignesh Shah v. Union of India[1] (Jignesh Shah), a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court set aside the NCLAT judgment in the case of Pushpa Shah v. IL&FS Financial Services Limited[2] (NCLAT Judgment) along with the original judgment of the NCLT[3] (NCLT Judgment and, together, La-Fin Judgments). The NCLT Judgment and the NCLAT Judgment had rejected the corporate debtor’s objection in relation to the claim being time barred and initiated corporate insolvency resolution process on the basis that a put option holder may be treated as a “financial creditor” under the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).
Continue Reading Put-option Holders: Financial Creditors Under the IBC?