Insolvency and Resolution Process of DHFL under the Light of Financial Service Providers Regulations

Insolvency and Resolution Process of DHFL under the Light of Financial Service Providers Regulations


            On 15th November 2019, Ministry of Corporate Affairs(MCA), exercised its power granted under section 227[1] read with Section 239(2)(zh)[2] of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code,2016 (IBC)  has notified  Financial Service Providers(FSP) shall be governed under the IBC for the purpose of resolution and Liquidation. The Purpose of IBC as the sole Legislation has yet taken a step forward by such inclusion of FSP. The FSPs includes a variety of NBFCs which will now be resolved as per the wishes of its creditors. Intersection of NCLT, the Central Bank i.e Reserve Bank of India and the public depositors is to be observed as a vital piece of milestone in adhering and scrutinizing the said notified regulations vis-à-vis principles of IBC.

Liquidity crunch, rise of NPA’s, IL&FS case, Dewan Housing Financing Limited(DHFL) scam proved the necessity of the said rules to be notified. Whether the same or more weightage will be given to depositors in the DHFL case as to homebuyers in precedents. IBC as commercial, money oriented legislation where recovery under resolution or liquidation has not been 100%, which is nothing but natural demand of every depositor to get every penny back. Unlike India, USA has an office where consumer protection in financial transactions grievances has been established which forms an important part of the Insolvency proceedings.

I. FSP rules. A short description of the FSP rules and notifications. Financial Service Providers and Rules decrypted –Background of the FSP Rules

As per the Report of Financial Service Legislative Reform Commission, a non-sectorial in nature, to replace existing financial laws, a draft was proposed known as Indian Financial Code(IFC). As suggested under IFC, it is the discretion of the RBI and SEBI to include any financial activity as a financial service provider. Under IFC a ‘Resolution Mechanism’ and a ‘Resolution Corporation’ supposed to deal with resolution or sale of financial firms including banks and other financial companies except individuals, were known as Financial service providers under its insolvency laws. Accordingly, IBC had the same meaning of Financial Service Provider stated under Section 3(17) of the IBC, 2016, the Legislators kept in mind the intent of the then Indian Financial Code and an inclusive definition has been incorporated accordingly.

In order to understand the Insolvency and Resolution process under IBC following Sections of the Code and Rules of Financial Service Providers need to be read together. ‘The words and expressions used and not defined in the said rules but defined in the Code shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Code.’[3]

Section 3(17)[4] defines ‘Financial Service Provider’ means a person engaged in the business of providing financial services in terms of authorisation issued or registration granted by a financial sector regulator;

Section 3(18)[5] defines “Financial Service Regulator” means an authority or body constituted under any law for the time being in force to regulate services or transactions of financial sector and includes the Reserve Bank of India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, the Pension Fund Regulatory Authority and such other regulatory authorities as may be notified by the Central Government;  

Definitions under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Insolvency and Liquidation Proceedings of Financial Service Providers and Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2019.

Administrator, as per Rule 3(1)(a) means an individual appointed by the Adjudicating Authority upon admission of corporate insolvency resolution process application filed by appropriate regulator. The board of corporate debtor is dismissed and administrator along with advisory committee take charge of the said FSP. The Administrator is empowered to exercise the power and functions of insolvency professional, interim resolution professional, resolution professional or the liquidator for the purpose of insolvency and liquidation proceedings of a financial service provider. An Advisory Committee[6] of three or more members to aid and advice the administrator shall be constituted by the appropriate regulator within 45 days of the commencement of the insolvency commencement date.  

‘Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process’(CIRP) under Rule 5 means the CIRP of the financial service provider. The major difference between CIRP other than of FSP is of the Role of appropriate regulator(s) and the interim moratorium. In order to initiate the CIRP, it is only the appropriate regulator that can file an application as petitioner against a corporate debtor i.e a financial service provider(FSP). Such application by the appropriate regulator is deemed to be application filed under section 7[7] of the IBC. As soon as the application is filed till the time of its admission or rejection is the period of ‘interim moratorium’.  

Once an application is filed before Adjudicating authority ‘interim moratorium’ begins for such FSP which is not the case otherwise under section 14[8] of the code. The licence of such FSP to do business is not suspended during the interim moratorium and the CIRP. As mentioned before an Administrator is appointed only after admission of application under section 7. During such interim moratorium regular business shall not be suspended or abstained from doing transactions for the benefit of such FSP[9], it is important to note that under section 74[10] which punishes violation of moratorium period by any corporate debtor or its officer imprisonment for a term not less than 3 years, which may extend upto 5 year and/or fine of minimum 1 lac up to 3 lac or both and for financial creditor, imprisonment not less than 1 year, which may extend up to 5 years or with fine not less than 1 lac, but may extend upto 1 crore or both. Thus violation of moratorium or resolution plan is a grave offence under IBC.

‘Resolution Plan’ by the resolution applicant[11] has to be satisfy in a statement as to how the resolution applicant is going to run the business of FSP in accordance with the laws for time being in force. NOC i.e No objection certificate is necessary to be obtained from the appropriate regulator after the Committee of Creditors has passed the resolution plan. Such NOC to be issued within 45 days, without prejudice to section 29A[12], on the basis of fit and proper criteria is with respect to who will be in control or management of FSP and not the resolution plan. Ultimately the CoC(s) decision with respect to resolution plan will prevail if it carves out the method of payment of debts as per the waterfall under section 30(2) of the code. The maximum time for completion of corporate insolvency resolution process is 330 days from the insolvency commencement date[13]. If no resolution plan is produced or has been rejected, then the FSP will go under Liquidation under rule 7 of the said rules.

Liquidation of FSP –Rule 7 states, that the provisions of the IBC with respect to liquidation process shall, mutatis mutandis apply, to the liquidation process of the FSP. The licence of the said FSP shall not be suspended in order to carry on business unless an opportunity has been given to liquidator to pass an order otherwise. It is pertinent to note that, an opportunity of being heard is given to the appropriate regulator before passing an order for liquidation of FSP under section 33[14] and dissolution of FSP under section 54[15].

Voluntary Liquidation under rule 8[16] states that the provisions of the IBC with respect to voluntary liquidation process shall, mutatis mutandis apply, to the voluntary liquidation process of the FSP. A FSP who has not committed any default or able to pay its debt can undergo Voluntary liquidation as per section 59[17] only after prior permission has been obtained from the appropriate regulator. Opportunity of being heard is given to appropriate regulator before passing an order of dissolution[18] by the adjudicating authority. 

Rule 10 of the said rules speak about asset of third parties, shall not be under the moratorium for any purpose related to such third party assets. Any third party assets, properties, securities, funds held by such FSP under CIRP in trust for the benefit of such third party will come under control of administrator appointed in order to continue or safeguard the interest of such third party. Not yet notified.


II. Summary of DHFL Scam and NCLT proceedings– Information based upon website about CIRP process as per FSP rules.

On 15th November 2019 the said rules i.e Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Insolvency and Liquidation Proceedings of Financial Service Providers and Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2019 has been notified by the MCA. On 18th November, 2019[19], MCA has notified for the first time the jurisdiction of the rules read with the code shall apply to :-

  1. ‘non-banking financial companies (which include housing finance companies) with asset size of 500 cr or more, as per last audited balance sheet.
  2. Appropriate Regulator as per Rule3(1)(a) shall be Reserve bank of India (Subject to Change as per sector or Appropriate Regulator)
  3. Adjudicating Authority shall be National Company Law Tribunal.

Hence RBI has the power to initiate the CIRP process in accordance with the Code before NCLT. Dewan Housing Finance Limited(DHFL) is the first Financial Service provider to come under the ambit IBC.


From a legal prospective the DHFL crisis is solely based upon bad corporate governance and asset liability mismanagement which hit its liquidity.

Total Debt of DHFL as on 6th July 2019 –                                        83,873 Crores.

Public Deposits –                                                                               6000 Crores.

Secured Loan –                                                                                  74,055 Crores.

Unsecured Loan –                                                                              9818 Crores.’[20]

Major Liabilities of DHFL –

  • Non-Convertible Debentures – 41,431 crores
  • Banks – 27,527 Crores
  • Fixed Deposits – 6,188 Crores
  • External Commercial borrowings – 2,747 Crores.
  • National Housing Bank – 2,350 Crores.
  • Sub-Debt – 2,267 Crores.
  • Perpetual Debt – 1,263 Crores
  • Commercial Paper – 100 Crores.’[21]


  • 21st September 2018 -DSP Mutual fund sold “AAA” rated DHFL debt papers worth Rs300cr at a high yield of 11%, which is generally asked of a paper with a higher risk and lower credit quality. This incited a massive panic selling in shares of DHFL, which plunged as much as 60% on that day. This was just the beginning of the Mumbai based home financer’s deepening woes, which came too close on the heels of the IL&FS crisis.[22]
  • 7th March 2019 – After an allegation made by an online portal (Cobrapost- SEBI begin investigation of DHFL and appointed an independent audit firm to scrutinize the accounts. On 6th march 2019 DHFL announced that it has been given clean sheet by such firm. Due to such allegations and probe by multiple credit rating agencies, long-term ratings of DHFL have been downgraded.
  • In May, CARE[23] downgraded the fixed deposit programme of DHFL worth Rs20,000cr from CARE A to CARE BBB- (Credit Watch with negative implications). This, according to CARE Ratings, means ‘moderate’ credit risk. According to the existing regulations, an NBFC can’t accept public deposits with such low ratings. This compelled DHFL to stop taking fresh deposits. It also halted pre-mature withdrawals of existing deposits and renewals of existing deposits.[24]
  • 30th may 2019 – DHFL informs Stock Exchange its inability to publish Fourth Quarterly report within stipulated time.
  • 4th June 2019 – Delayed in Payment of Commercial papers worth Rs 950 crores.
  • 5th June 2019 – Credit Rating Agencies downgraded the ratings of Commercial Papers to D grade i.e Default grade.
  • Consortium of Banks and creditor led by SBI signed an Inter Creditor Agreement in order to come up with a Debt Resolution plan, which failed due to non-participation of Mutual funds, Retail Depositors and Bondholders.[25]
  • As such resolution plan failed. RBI moved DHFL to NCLT for Insolvency and Resolution.
  • Meanwhile enquiry into fraud allegations and promoters siphoning off funds to shell companies in order to buy assets were raised and RBI has inquired into the same. SFIO i.e Serious Fraud Investigation Organization is inquiring into the situation.
  • On 20th November 2019 RBI issued notification ‘Supersession of the Board of Directors and Appointment of Administrator – Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited. Shri R. Subramaniakumar, Ex-MD and CEO of Indian Overseas Bank has been appointed as the Administrator of DHFL[26].
  • On 29th November 2019 RBI filed an ‘Application for Initiation of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process against DHFL under IBC, 2016’.[27] Interim Moratorium begin as soon as application was filed.

Post – Interim Moratorium

NCLT Mumbai, on 3rd December 2019 pronounced admission of application filed by RBI against DHFL. Whereby Shri. R. Subramaniakumar has been confirmed as the Administrator and the Advisory committee has been appointed chaired by the administrator. The members of Committee are: –

i) Dr Rajiv Lall, Non-Executive Chairman, IDFC First Bank Ltd.

ii) Shri N.S. Kannan, Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd.

iii) Shri NS Venkatesh, Chief Executive, Association of Mutual Funds in India.

Particulars of Default supplied by SBI (one of the major Lender) has been produced before the NCLT by the Petitioner and had been admitted based upon the mail exchange annexed in the Application under section 7 of the IBC,2016. The default admitted is only with respect to the extension of the External commercial borrowings[28] and not the whole debt of SBI and other Creditors. The Administrator shall update the list of Depositors along with the outstanding amount payable to each one with their address and communication information so that in future their interest can be watched along with all other stakeholders.[29]

As of now DHFL in under the CIRP process and the notice for call for claims has been issued. The last date for submission of claims by depositors is 17th December 2019. A list of Claims has been published apart from public depositors on its official website as per which an Amount of 80,797 CR of Financial Creditors (FC) has been admitted and 60.7668 Cr of Operational Creditors (OC) in under verification in order to admit such claim. The said list also includes admitted claims of Rs.  1.81 CR out of 2.01 CR of Workmen and Employees and 950+ CR claims by creditors other than OC and FC is yet to be admitted.

As of 14th January, 2019 the CoC has allowed DHFL to give Loans upto 500 Cr. Monthly. As per R Subramaniam, the Administrator, 1700-1800 Cr is the monthly Recovery Plan as DHFL has extended loans of Rs 63,390 Cr.


III. What will happen to Depositors? Do public depositors have a better solution than going under IBC code to recover such deposits?

  • It is pertinent to note that the Non-Convertible debentures held by Catalyst Trusteeship for bondholders (indirect inclusion of public money as investment) is under the ambit of Financial Creditors as per Section 5(8)(C) of the IBC. Catalyst Trusteeship had invested 34 types of bond schemes secured and unsecured in total, major amount claimed by such lenders has been admitted So the question arises of direct public depositors in DHFL. Public Deposits of Rs. 4800 Cr rumoured to have been admitted which is yet to be confirmed on the official website of DHFL.
  • As moratorium has kicked in, all other remedies will be unavailable to the depositors. Except for already pending matters under Article 32 and Article 226 of the Supreme Court and High Court but in Canara Bank V. Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited before NCLAT it was held ‘There is no provision to file any money suit or suit for recovery before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has power under Article 32 of the Constitution of India and Hon’ble High Court under Article 226 of Constitution of India which power cannot be curtailed by any provision of an Act or a Court. In view of the aforesaid provision of law, we make it clear that ‘moratorium’ will not affect any suit or case pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India or where an order is passed under Article 136 of Constitution of India. ‘Moratorium’ will also not affect the power of the High Court under Article 226 of Constitution of India. However, so far as suit, if filed before any High Court under original jurisdiction which is a money suit or suit for recovery, against the ‘corporate debtor’ such suit cannot proceed after declaration of ‘moratorium, under Section 14 of the I&B Code’.[30]

From the above judgement it can be inferred that depositors may challenge such moratorium only on grounds of article 32 and 226 only on point of law and not on point of instant remedy. For example, in PMC bank case, RBI on 5th November 2019 has notified, upon checking liquidity condition of the PMC bank, depositors can withdraw upto Rs. 40,000 of their total balance or upto Rs. 1,00,000 in case of medical emergencies, marriages etc. An application has to be filed before the RBI appointed Administrator for PMC Bank to withdraw Rs. 1,00,000. DHFL is the first financial service provider it is yet to be seen how resolution takes place with public depositors involved[31].

  • Section 14(3) – The Provisions of sub-section (1) shall not apply to the transactions as may be notified by the central government in consultation with any financial sector regulator.

RBI in consultation with Central govt. may exempt DHFL depositors from moratorium and allow such repayment. Depositors will be able to file a suit.  No such order has been given with respect to depositors yet so far.

  • As Depositors are unsecured creditors, their claims have been called and NCLT might follow the decision in Jaypee Infra resolution[32] as precedent with respect to homeowners representation in Committee of Creditors and at par with financial creditors[33]. Depositors in the DHFL Case.


Major Difference in the USA and India.

US Insolvency and Resolution Practice and the Dodd-Frank Effect.

  • The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC)

Made of 10 federal financial regulators and an independent member and 5 nonvoting members, the Financial Stability Oversight Council will be charged with identifying and responding to emerging risks throughout the financial system.

  • Statutory Framework of Orderly Liquidation Authority –

i.e OLA has powers to liquidate financial companies in order to not bail out from tax-payer money, such important companies which may affect the US economy. The Treasury, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation(FDIC) and the Federal Reserve all have to agree for OLA. Under no Circumstances the tax-payer money will be used to bail out such ‘Too Big to Fail Financial Companies’ Frank Dodd Act creates hurdles as to preserve the company or else OLA as the last remedy.

  • The Dodd-Frank Act –

Along with Bankruptcy Code govern the resolution and bankruptcy of financial companies. While IBC speaks only about insolvency and bankruptcy, the Dodd Frank act touches upon various acts of a company be it the management of company, SEC compliances, Federal Reserve Emergency Lending etc.

It is to be noted that amendments have been made to all together a different but interconnected legislation i.e the Dodd-Frank Act and not the US Bankruptcy Code with respect to financial companies. The act creates transparency and accountability of financial companies and its subsidiaries involved in other business such as derivatives, hedge funds etc.

  • To Study the Application of Law –

‘Section 216(a)(2)(A) of the Dodd-Frank Act requires the Board to include in its study “the effectiveness of Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in facilitating the orderly resolution or reorganization of systemic financial companies. Section 216(a)(2)(B) of the Dodd-Frank Act requires the Board to include in its study “whether a special financial resolution court or panel of special masters or judges should be established to oversee cases involving financial companies to provide for the resolution of such companies under the Bankruptcy Code, in a manner that minimizes adverse impacts on financial markets without creating moral hazard’[34]

  • Different Spectrum –

The Liquidation and Resolution is governed by chapter 7 and chapter 11 of the Insolvency code. Regulatory Resolution and Bankruptcy under the U.S Bankruptcy code are two ways to look into any financial company. The approach of the Regulatory Resolution is based towards resolution whereas the focus under bankruptcy code is clearance of creditors obligations.

  • One Chance to Debtor –

The primary authority for a corporate reorganization is Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. In a Chapter 11 reorganization, the debtor is able to negotiate with its creditors (sometimes even before filing a petition) to confirm a plan of reorganization that will allow for the restructuring of the debtor’s liabilities so that the company will be able to satisfy them. These negotiations take place in the context of a judicial proceeding administered by a federal bankruptcy judge. Once a plan of reorganization has been confirmed, the company, typically under the authority of its existing management team, will take the actions outlined by the plan. The debtor is often then able to emerge from bankruptcy and resume operations.[35]

  • Role of Federal Reserve –
  1. The Dodd-Frank Act assigned the Federal Reserve the authority and responsibility to supervise and regulate certain nonbank financial companies that the FSOC has determined should be subject to Board supervision and prudential standards pursuant to section 113 of that act.
  2. The Federal Reserve has additional supervisory responsibility as the federal supervisor for savings and loan holding companies and the consolidated supervisor for foreign banking organi­zations and nonbank financial companies designated by the Financial Stability Oversight Council for supervision by the Federal Reserve under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
  3. The Financial Stability Oversight Council will have the ability to require nonbank financial companies that pose a risk to the financial stability of the United States to submit to supervision by the Federal Reserve.
  4. The Federal Reserve assumed responsibility as the consolidated supervisor of certain insurance holding companies as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act. In addition to certain nonbank financial companies described above that may have significant insurance activities, the Federal Reserve is responsible for the consolidated supervision of insurance holding companies that are savings and loan holding companies, state regulator assist federal reserve in doing such supervision.[36]



To shade some light on the functioning of authorities and containing such economics crisis at early stages it is necessary to compare. Unlike India, USA had made critical vigilance of such financial service providers to a higher extent and strict punishment. 

From the above description of the laws of Insolvency and bankruptcy for Financial service providers it can be inferred that, NBFCs form an important part of the economy. DHFL a systematically important deposit accepting company came under the liquidity crunch and as a reminder to RBI and government about scrutinizing the laws and such NBFCs. On 7th June, 2019 amidst the NBFCs fallout, one by one, it was evidentiary to analyse the situation of such NBFCs and its asset liquidity ratio way before it gets out of control, hence RBI issued directions ‘Prudential framework for resolution of stressed assets’ which cover NBFC-D[37] as well. The directions prescribe an effective framework to curb liquidity issues in the long run as they are the watch-keeper of accounts of NBFCs.  The said rules momentarily are applicable to a strata of companies above 500cr in market capitalization value, it is yet to be seen whether less than 500 crore NBFCs will be resolved under IBC or not. Depositors have a limited choice as to repayments of full deposit as observed above. It is important to understand that FSP rules as per my underdog acumen seem to be the best, time bound remedy as to money involved way beyond savings of a tax payer or some regular depositor. The authorities, as to the priority of claims, have to look at both the sides of the coin if we leave disputed topic of rights of operational creditors beside. With risk of being repetitive I conclude my research.


[1] Section 227 Power of Central Government to notify Financial Service Providers IBC 2016

[2] Section 239(zh) Power to Make Rules, IBC 2016

[3] The Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Insolvency and Liquidation Proceedings of Financial Service Providers and Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2019.

[4] Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code,2016.

[5] Supra

[6] Rule 5(C) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Insolvency and Liquidation Proceedings of Financial Service Providers and Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2019

[7] Section 7 of IBC – Initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process by financial creditor.

[8] Section 14 of IBC – Moratorium. 

[9] Rule 5(B)(ii) – the license or registration which authorises the financial service provider to engage in the business of providing financial services shall not be suspended or cancelled during the interim-moratorium and the corporate insolvency resolution process.

[10] Section 74 of the IBC– Punishment for contravention of moratorium or the resolution plan.

[11] Section 10 of IBC – Initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process by corporate applicant.

[12] Section 29A – Person not Eligible to be resolution applicant.

[13] Amended Section 12(3) – Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2019

[14] Section 33 of the IBC – Initiation of Liquidation.

[15] Dissolution of Corporate debtor, IBC 2016. Corporate debtor to be referred as ‘Financial Service Provider’ as per the said rules.

[16] Supra at footnote 3.

[17] Section 59, Voluntary Liquidation of Corporate Persons.

[18] Supra 17

[19] S.O 4139(E) – Notification by MCA in consultation with RBI with respect to insolvency and liquidation proceedings of specified category of financial service providers.

[20] ‘DHFL lenders led by SBI expected to complete debt resolution plan quickly’

[21]RBI Takeover move holds hope for Retail Depositors in DHFL

[22]DHFL: Delays to downgrades and everything in between.

[23] Credit Analysis and Research

[24] Supra 21

[25]What happens to Public Depositors

[26] Such Appointment made under power conferred with RBI under Section 45-IE (2) of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and not as per the FSP Insolvency and Bankruptcy rules. In the latter the administrator is appointed after the Application for CIRP has been admitted and not after suppression of Board of Directors.

[27], accessed on December 19, 2019

[28]  Para 4.1, C.P. (IB) 4258/MB/2019

[29]  CP (IB) 4258/MD/2019, RBI v. DHFL

[30]CA(AT)(Insolvency) No. 147 of 2017, Canara Bank V. Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited.


[32] CP No. (IB) 68/Ald/2017Prabhod Kumar Gupta and Ors. Vs. Jaypee Infratech Ltd

[33] CA 07 of 2017, Nikhil Mehta and Sons(HUF) and ors V. AMR Infrastructure


[35] United State Code U.S.C Chapter 11

[36] About the Fed,

[37] Systematically Important Deposit Accepting Non-Banking Financial Institution.

Written by:

Aherar Patel (Author)
Shivangi Pathak (Co-author)


The opinions expressed herein are those of the contributors (which shall, for these purposes, include guests) in their personal capacity and do not, in any way or manner, reflect the views of the organizations that the contributors are presently associated with, or that have previously employed or retained the contributors. Postings on this blog are for informational purposes only. Nothing herein shall be deemed or construed to constitute legal or investment advice. Discussions on, or arising out of this, blog between contributors and other persons shall not create any attorney-client relationship.

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