The outbreak of COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and lives of people. The growth rate of the Indian economy has fall down. Various regulators and Government have taken several measures and initiatives to cope up with the consequences of COVID-19 outbreak. Similarly, following are the initiatives taken by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to fight against COVID-19:
1) Postponement of dates of hearing of the Pending matters.
In view of controlling the spread of COVID-19 cases, NCLT has decided to revise the date of hearing vide circular dated 12th June, 2020 in respect of all pending matters.
2) Extension of Limitation period for Filing of Appeals
The period of limitation for filing Appeal with this Appellate Tribunal shall stand extended with effect from 15th March, 2020 till further order/s in terms of the direction dated 23-03-2020 passed by Hon’ble Apex Court in Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No(s).3/2020.
3) Updates on Insolvency Law
Vide Order dated 30.03.2020 – Period of lockdown be excluded for the purpose of counting of the period for ‘Resolution Process’ u/s 12 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and any interim order/ stay order passed by Appellate Tribunal will be having the continuous effect till the date of next hearing.
4) Appeal to NCLAT on matter under Companies Act, 2013
The NCLAT has taken suo moto cognizance of the unprecedented situation arising out of spread of COVID-19 virus. Hon’ble Apex Court has extended the period of limitation w.e.f. March 15, 2020 till further order in Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) no(s).03/2020, inasmuch as certain steps required to be taken by various Authorities or to comply with various provisions under the Companies Act, 2013, the Appellate Tribunal in exercise of its powers order as follows: –
– It is ordered that any interim order/ stay order passed by this Appellate Tribunal in anyone or the other Appeal under the Companies Act, 2013 and in all Competition Appeals shall continue till next date of hearing, which may be notified later.
5) Competition Law
To comply with various provisions under Competition Act, 2002, the Appellate Tribunal ordered as follows in reference to Suo Moto – Competition Appeal (AT) No. 01 of 2020 ORDER 30.03.2020:
– That Interim order/ stay order passed in all Competition Appeals shall continue until further order.
– In the event of expiry of period of Fixed Deposits, the concerned bank shall renew the same for further period of six months.
In view of the lockdown announced by several State Governments and Central Government notifying affected districts due to COVID-19, it has been decided that:-
(i) All NCLT benches shall remain closed from 23.3.2020 to 31.3.2020 for the purpose of judicial work, as to unavoidable urgent matters, on application by the aggrieved, through email to the registry NCLT Chennai after service of notice to the other side, Hon’ble Acting President sitting singly at Chennai will examine and pass necessary orders on Wednesday and Friday;
(ii) Parties/counsels will not be provided making oral submissions. The NCLT discourages persons arriving to NCLT Chennai. Application shall be verified by the respective counsel through affidavit by mentioning their bar enrollment number, above process should not be abused. The application/communication shall be sent to Registrar NCLT Chennai email from email of respective counsel;
(iii) As financial year is at closure therefore for administrative work Skeletal staff may attend the office as per decision of HOD of respective bench whenever required. Other staff will work from home and remain available on mobile phone;
(iv) As regard to the IBC-2016 matters extension of time, approval of resolution plan and liquidation will not be construed as urgent matters. These matters will be taken up as soon as regular benches start functioning, until such time such application not to be filed.
With regard to Limitation, it is clear that the order dated 23.3.2020 passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court in suo motu WP-03/2020 is binding on everyone in India, for further clarification, it is hereby clarified that the litigant public with regard to the matters falling within jurisdiction of NCLT shall abide by the aforesaid orders of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
Due to COVID-19 outbreak, It is to confirm the litigant public that NCLT has been providing urgent hearings through video conferencing and deciding the issues, in order to make it expedient to understand the issues through virtual hearings and dispense justice without any further delay in the context of the urgent appeals made by the litigant public and all other stakeholders.
Further vide Notice dated 21st April, 2020 and dated 3rd May, 2020, NCLT in context of urgent hearing through Video Conference has stated that all the concerned parties and authorized representatives are requested to file the urgent applications through e-filing portal at New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Amaravati and Jaipur benches, At all other benches, it may be filed through regular e-mail services of respective bench.
It has been noted that several applications received online during lockdown have some defects and facts not clearly stated. Such Applications will not be entertained by the NCLT.
In view of the lockdown announced by the Government of India (GOI) until 03.05.2020, to control the spread of COVID-19, the directions given in the notice dated 22.03.2020 issued by NCLT are hereby extended upto 03.05.2020.