Brief about decision:

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 has come into force with effect from 1st December, 2016 and therefore, the right to apply under this Code accrues only on or after 1st December, 2016.

Analysis of the case:

Section 9 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 read with Article 137 of the Limitation Act, 1963 – Application for Initiation of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process by Operational Creditor.

Facts of the case:

The applicant/Operational Creditor filed an application under section 9 of the Code before NCLT, Mumbai Bench on the ground that the respondent/Corporate Debtor (CD) had failed to pay its agreed dues. The Adjudicating Authority by its impugned order dated 4th May 2017 dismissed the application on the ground that the application was barred by limitation.

NCLAT verdict:

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 has come into force with effect from 1st December, 2016. Therefore, the right to apply under I&B Code accrues only on or after 1st December, 2016 and not before the said date (1st December, 2016). As the right to apply under section 9 of I&B Code accrued to appellant since 1st December, 2016, the application filed much prior to three years, the said application cannot be held to be barred by limitation.

In so far as the application under section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 preferred by appellant, it has been specifically pleaded by the appellant and not disputed by the respondent that the appellant filed an application to withdraw the application under section 9 of the Arbitration Act, expressly reserving liberty to institute fresh proceeding for interim relief. In such circumstances and as no arbitral dispute is pending, the application cannot be rejected.

The Adjudicating Authority, Mumbai Bench was not correct in holding that the application was barred by limitation. For the said reason the order rejecting the application cannot be sustained.

Case Reference : NCLAT in case of  Black Pearl Hotels Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Planet M Retail Ltd., Company Appeal (AT) (Insolvency) No.91 of 2017, Date of Order: 17.10.2017

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