National Company law Tribunal

Companies Act

Background

Key Managerial Personnel (“KMP”) play an integral role in the management and functioning of a company. Earlier, the Companies Act, 1956 under Section 269, provided for the appointment of managing or whole-time director or manager in certain cases. However, the Dr. J.J. Irani Report[1], recognized that the board of directors (“Board”) typically look towards KMP for formulation and execution of policies and recognized their role in conducting the affairs of the company. The Committee highlighted the need to recognise the concept of KMP, govern such appointments and identify them as officers responsible for certain functions of the company, along with making them liable for any related non-compliances. Further, the Parliamentary Standing Committees on the Companies Bill in 2009 and 2011[2] also discussed the necessity for the concept of KMP to be included in the Companies Act, 2013 (“Companies Act”). Accordingly, the Companies Act, re-envisioned the importance of KMP and for the first time provided for a detailed definition of KMP along with the provisions governing their appointment.

Continue Reading Key Managerial Personnel Appointments: Applicability of Section 203 of the Companies Act, 2013 to private companies: does the NCLAT order cast the net too wide?

NOIDA stands in the shoes of an operational creditor

Introduction

The resolution process for real estate companies is anything but simple, given the complexities involved and the plethora of parties with varied and conflicting interests. One such issue was whether local industrial development authorities, in particular the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (“NOIDA”), should be classified as financial creditors or operational creditors, by virtue of the lease deeds they enter into with various corporate debtors.

The question has now finally been answered. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide its judgment dated May 17, 2022, in the case of New Okhla Industrial Development Authority v. Anand Sonbhadra[1], has now declared that NOIDA is not a financial creditor and would be classified as an operational creditor under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (the “Code”). The issue involved in the Anand Sonbhadra (supra.) judgment was whether 90 year leases entered into between NOIDA and real estate companies give rise to a financial or operational debt in the event that corporate insolvency resolution proceedings are initiated against such real estate companies.

Continue Reading NOIDA stands in the shoes of an operational creditor

Interpreting Limitation Provisions

Introduction

The Supreme Court of India, in a recent judgment, reiterated that the limitation period for filing of an appeal against the order of the National Company Law Tribunal (“NCLT”) as laid down under Section 61 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“IBC”) has to be interpreted strictly.

Continue Reading Interpreting Limitation Provisions – Supreme Court Rejects the ‘Date of Knowledge’ Argument

Appropriate forum for Insolvency of Personal Guarantors

Introduction

The provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (the “Code”) in relation to personal guarantors (“PG”) to corporate debtor (“Corporate Debtor”) have been effective since December 1, 2019. However, whether a corporate insolvency resolution process (“CIRP”) (or even a pending application to initiate such a process) against the Corporate Debtor is a pre-requisite for initiation of insolvency resolution process or bankruptcy process against the PG under the Code (“PG Proceedings”) before the National Company Law Tribunal (“NCLT”) has been a question that continued to vex the judicial for some time, until recently the Honourable Supreme Court, in Mahendra Kumar Jajodia v. SBI Stressed Assets Management Branch (“Mahendra Kumar Case”),[1] upheld the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (“NCLAT”) order holding that the NCLT has jurisdiction over PG Proceedings, regardless of any CIRP or liquidation proceedings pending against the Corporate Debtor before it.

This blog analyses the background, the developments so far and the position after the Apex Court’s order.

Continue Reading Appropriate forum for Insolvency of Personal Guarantors – Is the last word out?

Role of IFSC in the Indian SPAC Dream

In part 2 of this series of blogs (Key Features IFSC Lisiting Regulations in Relation to Listing of SPACs), we touched upon the newly-introduced framework for the issuance and listing of special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) at the International Financial Services Centres (“IFSC”) under the International Financial Services Centres Authority (Issuance and Listing of Securities) Regulations, 2021 (“IFSC Listing Regulations”). In this part of the blog we are going to look at the IFSC Listing Regulations with a critical eye to detect the gaps that continue to exist despite the framework being put in place and identify areas that can be improved upon to leverage the unique status of entities in IFSC.

Continue Reading Role of IFSC in the Indian SPAC Dream: An Overview – Part 3

JV Company’s Board

Background

The fiduciary relationship between a director and the company is among the foremost principles of company law, which was first enshrined by common law courts of equity. The Supreme Court of India (“SC”) first recognised this common law principle in its celebrated judgment in the Nanalal Zaver case[1], which noted that directors can be considered as “trustees” of the company, and “must exercise their powers for the benefit of the company and for that alone”.[2]

Continue Reading Dilemma of a Nominee Director on the JV Company’s Board – Is there a conflict in his fiduciary duties?

Liquidation Process

Introduction

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“IBC”), an umbrella legislation, has successfully envisaged the process of speedy resolution or liquidation of a corporate entity and has proved to be a milestone in the Indian legal framework. By bringing IBC in force, the legislature has sought to maximise the value of the assets of the debtor, and to adopt a fair and transparent procedure for the disposition of the assets while balancing the interests of all stakeholders.

Continue Reading Enforcement directorate under PMLA can no longer attach assets once liquidation process has been initiated under IBC

Lessons from ReNew Power overseas listing through SPAC

The frenzy of Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPACs), which became the buzzword in 2020, has continued into 2021 with around 711 SPACs currently present in the US market seeking a target. SPACs are blank check shell companies listed on a stock exchange (such as NASDAQ), which are set up by investment funds/ sponsors exclusively for the purpose of acquiring operating companies within a prescribed time period, with the acquisition resulting in listing of such operating companies. This route of listing is relatively less time consuming and less cumbersome as compared to the traditional IPOs. Investors invest in SPACs based on the investment philosophy, the sector and geography which the SPAC indicates in its listing documents.

Continue Reading Lessons from ReNew Power overseas listing through SPAC

Does NCLT has power to refer parties to Arbitration in an in rem insolvency proceeding

The conflict between Insolvency and Arbitration is almost of near polar extremes. The difference in focus of the two was well illustrated in Re United States Lines Inc[1] as a:

“… conflict of near polar extremes: bankruptcy policy exerts an inexorable pull towards centralization while arbitration policy advocates a decentralized approach towards dispute resolution”.

Thus, while insolvency/ bankruptcy aims to centralise all the proceedings against a debtor to one jurisdiction and give rise to a proceeding in rem (against the world at large) thereby creating third party rights for all creditors of the debtor, arbitration on the other hand advocates a decentralised approach and promotes party autonomy in dispute resolution resulting in a proceeding in personam (against a particular person).
Continue Reading Does NCLT has power to refer parties to Arbitration in an in rem insolvency proceeding?

 Decriminalising Companies Act Offences

Via the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2019, recommendations of the Committee to Review Offences under the Companies Act, 2013 (Committee) to re-categorise 16 out of 81 compoundable offences under the Companies Act, 2013 (Act) as civil liabilities were accepted. In a move to further relax the provisions, the Government has constituted a Company Law Committee to review aspects of criminalization in the remaining compoundable and non-compoundable offences under the Act.[1]
Continue Reading Decriminalising Companies Act Offences – Striking a Balance Between Ease of Doing Business and Corporate Governance