Speed Post News Network

New Delhi : Union  Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister  Nirmala Sitharaman on January 25, 2021, inaugurated the Chennai Bench of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) through virtual mode here.

The inaugural ceremony was held in presence of  Justice Bansi Lal Bhat, Acting Chairperson, NCLAT, Rajesh Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, other members of NCLAT and the National Company Law Tribunals, officers of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Finance, as well as members of the Bar.

The Chennai Bench of NCLAT shall have jurisdiction to hear the Appeals arising out of the orders passed by the benches of NCLT having jurisdiction of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Lakshwadeep, and Puducherry. Two Members of NCLAT, New Delhi,  Balvinder Singh, Member (Technical) and Justice Venugopal M. have taken charge of the newly constituted Chennai Bench of the NCLAT, according to a PIB release.

Justice Bansi Lal Bhat welcomed Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman and expressed his gratitude for inaugurating the Chennai Bench of the NCLAT. He also expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has very aptly underscored the role of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 in providing freedom of exit to insolvent entities. He stated that the Central Government has demonstrated a proactive approach by bringing successive amendments to the Code and that the Government is taking all steps to strengthen the NCLT in terms of number of Benches and number of courts at heavily loaded benches.

Five new Benches of NCLT have been announced at Jaipur, Cuttack, Kochi, Indore, and Amaravati, bringing the total number of Benches to 16 (including the Principal Bench). The NCLAT now functions at a strength of 5 courts, 4 at the Principal Bench in New Delhi and the 5th at NCLAT, Chennai.

Sitharaman emphasised on the significance of constituting another Bench of the NCLAT at Chennai and stated that the Bench of the NCLAT in New Delhi shall henceforth be known as the Principal Bench of the NCLAT which shall hear appeals other than those in the jurisdiction of Chennai Bench of the NCLAT.

The Finance Minister stated that the Union Government’s decision to set up a bench of the NCLAT at Chennai will give a major relief to the companies and litigants in Southern States of India, who faced great difficulty in travelling to Delhi for work pertaining to filing and arguing of appeals in the NCLAT. This will reduce the pendency of cases, shorten the period of process and shall result in speedier disposal of the cases. Sitahraman further stated that advent of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016 has benefited the economy in several ways.

The FM said that while the COVID-19 Pandemic brought physical hearings to a halt, the NCLTs and the NCLAT continued to function on video mode. At the NCLAT even during the period of lockdown, nearly 69% of cases were adjudicated during this time between March 2020 and December, 2020; 985 cases were filed and 681 cases were heard and disposed of.

The FM said before the NCLAT, out of approximate 5,600 cases filed as of December 2020, approximately 3,800 cases pertaining to IBC matters have been handled. Also, out of the total matters filed before the NCLAT, 4,200 matters have been disposed of indicating a disposal rate of 75%.