National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)
There are around 25,000 pending bankruptcy and insolvency cases apart from other corporate cases in India. In order to improve ease of doing business, enabling winding up of unproductive and stressed companies and promote better corporate dispute redressal mechanism, the Central Government has constituted National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under section 408 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013) w.e.f. 01st June 2016. The NCLT is formed with an aim to merge the various forums and provide a single medium for adjudication of all company matters.
Subsequently, the Company Law Board (CLB) and BIFR are dissolved and pending cases in both authorities are bound to move to NCLT.
In 1999, Justice V. Balakrishna Eradi Committee on Laws on Insolvency and Winding up of Companies endorsed the need to set up a national tribunal to deal with matters pertaining to revival, rehabilitation and winding up of companies. Acting upon the recommendations, the Government of India enacted the Companies (Second Amendment) Act 2002 provided for the establishment of NCLT and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) to replace the Company Law Board (CLB), the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) and their respective appellate bodies.
Powers and functions of NCLT
- NCLT has been granted various adjudicatory and regulatory powers.
- It is empowered with wide discretionary powers which include liquidation as well as direction to modify the charter documents and removal of the company’s name from the register of companies
- The tribunal will protect the interest of the debenture holders and could, after a proper hearing, pass orders restricting the company from incurring further liabilities
- NCLT will resolve insolvency cases of companies and limited liability partnerships only (whereas DRT will handle cases of individual bankruptcy)
- It empowers members and depositors to approach the NCLT in cases of fraud committed by a company’s management or its consultants and/or advisors.
- Prevention of multiplicity of proceedings.
- Reduction in the cost of litigation
Appeals from NCLT
An appeal from the NCLT may be made to the NCLAT within 45 (Forty five) days from the date of communication of the order of the NCLT. This limitation period can further be extended by 45 (Forty five) days if the NCLAT is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing such appeal.
Benches of NCLT
In the first phase, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs have set up eleven Benches, one Principal Bench at New Delhi and one each Regional Benches at New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. These Benches will be headed by the President and 16 Judicial Members and 09 Technical Members at different locations.
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