The “Ordinary Course of Business” exception in preferential transactions – Deciphering the interpretation methodology

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The concept of avoidance of preferential transactions under Section 43 of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“Code”), is based on the principle that insolvency is a collective scheme process and that the assets of a corporate debtor (“CD”) are distributed equitably in a liquidation scenario. During the twilight period of insolvency, paying off one creditor selectively can be disadvantageous to the interests of other stakeholders/creditors as transferring certain assets/monies diminishes the CD’s value. To reverse/avoid such preferential transactions, Section 43(1) of the Code empowers the resolution professional (“RP”) or the liquidator to approach the jurisdictional National Company Law Tribunal (“NCLT”). As per Section 43(2), a CD shall be deemed to have been given “preference” if the CD’s transfer of property benefits any creditor on account of any pre-existing debt owed by the CD and such a transfer puts the creditor into a beneficial position than it would have had the assets been distributed in a liquidation scenario. One of the two exclusions Section 43(3) lays down two exceptions from the trappings of the deeming fiction of preferential transactions one of them being “transfers made in the ordinary course of business or financial affairs of the corporate debtor or the transferee” (the “OCOB Exception”)[1].Continue Reading The “Ordinary Course of Business” exception in preferential transactions – Deciphering the interpretation methodology

Enforcement of Arbitration Awards via Insolvency Proceedings - A Contrary Perspective

As the Insolvency regime in India builds its new course under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (‘Insolvency Code’), numerous issues of application have arisen and will continue to grapple the corridors of the insolvency courts. One of the concerns is the interaction between debt enforcement/ execution procedures and the Insolvency Code. Insolvency Code allows operational creditors to initiate insolvency proceedings against a debtor, with a valid proof of undisputed claim. Form 5 of the IBBI (Application to Adjudication Authority) Rules, 2016, under which an Operational Creditor makes an application for initiation of insolvency process, considers a court decree or an arbitration award adjudicating on the default as a valid evidence of default to support insolvency commencement. The all-encompassing term ‘Arbitration Award’ includes both domestic awards and foreign awards. While the domestic awards are per se enforceable before the civil courts, unless stayed in a challenge before the court, and no distinct process for enforcement needs to be complied with under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (‘Arbitration Act’), foreign awards must follow a procedure of recognition, prior to being considered as enforceable before Indian courts. The Rules, however, shed no light on issues such as, at what stage the arbitration awards are eligible to be presented before the insolvency courts for insolvency commencement.
Continue Reading Enforcement of Arbitration Awards via Insolvency Proceedings: A Contrary Perspective

 Group Insolvency Norms

The recognition of a company’s separate juristic personality by the UK’s House of Lords in its landmark ruling in Salomon v. Salomon A Company Ltd.,[1] remains the basis for modern corporate law.[2] The ruling in effect drew a corporate veil around the legal personality of the company thereby establishing the separate legal identity of a corporate.

While India also follows the separate juristic personality of corporates as a general principle, exceptions have been incorporated over the years by way of legislative action[3] and juridical pronouncements.[4] In the context of insolvency law, the corporate veil is typically lifted in instances where a group company could be held liable for the debts of its associate and subsidiary companies, or if a group of companies functioned as a collective.
Continue Reading Staggered Lifting of the Corporate Veil: A Case for Group Insolvency Norms

2018 IBC Ordinance Impact of Changes

On June 6, 2018, the Government once again amended certain provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), by promulgating an ordinance[1] (the 2018 Ordinance) which introduces sweeping changes to the both substantive as well as procedural aspects relating to the insolvency process. Some of the key changes are analysed below.

Homebuyers – A New Class of ‘Financial Creditors’

The 2018 Ordinance has amended the definition of ‘financial debt’ to include amounts raised from ‘allottees’ in respect of a real estate project (as defined under the Real Estate (Regulations and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA)). Accordingly, homebuyers will now be entitled to a seat on the ‘committee of creditors’ (CoC) of the corporate debtor. However, given the large number of homebuyers for a project, they will be treated as a class of creditors and be represented in the CoC by an ‘authorised representative’ to be appointed by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).Continue Reading 2018 IBC Ordinance: Impact of Changes