To identify preferential transactions under Sec. 43 of the Code in any CIRP, step to be taken by a Resolution Professional

To identify preferential transactions under Sec. 43 of the Code in any CIRP, step to be taken by a Resolution Professional

Supreme Court in the matter of Anuj Jain IRP for Jaypee Infratech Limited Vs. Axis Bank Limited etc illustrated step to be taken by RP under Section 43 of the Code.

It could be readily recapitulated that as per the charging parts of Section 43 i.e., sub-sections (4) and (2) thereof, a corporate debtor shall be deemed to have given preference at a relevant time if the twin requirements of clauses (a) and (b) of sub-section (2) coupled with the applicable requirements of either clause (a) or clause (b) of sub-section (4), as the case may be, are satisfied. However, even if the requirements of subsections (4) and (2) are satisfied, a transaction may not be regarded as an offending preference if it falls in either or both of the exceptions provided by sub-section (3) of Section 43.

Looking to the legal fictions created by Section 43 and looking to the duties and responsibilities per Section 25, for the purpose of application of Section 43 of the Code in any insolvency resolution process, what a resolution professional is ordinarily required to do could be illustrated as follows:

1. In the first place, the resolution professional shall have to take two major but distinct steps. One shall be of sifting through the entire cargo of transactions relating to the property or an interest thereof of the corporate debtor backwards from the date of commencement of insolvency and up to the preceding two years. The other distinct step shall be of identifying the persons involved in such transactions and of putting them in two categories; one being of the persons who fall within the definition of ‘related party’ in terms of Section 5(24) of the Code and another of the remaining persons.

2. In the next step, the resolution professional ought to identify as to in which of the said transactions of preceding two years, the beneficiary is a related party of the corporate debtor and in which the beneficiary is not a related party. It would lead to bifurcation of the identified transactions into two sub-sets: One concerning related party/parties and other concerning unrelated party/parties with each sub-set requiring different analysis. The sub-set concerning unrelated party/parties shall further be trimmed to include only the transactions of preceding one year from the date of commencement of insolvency.

3. Having thus obtained two sub-sets of transactions to scan, the steps thereafter would be to examine every transaction in each of these sub-sets to find: (i) as to whether the transaction is of transfer of property or an interest thereof of the corporate debtor; and (ii) as to whether the beneficiary involved in the transaction stands in the capacity of creditor or surety or guarantor qua the corporate debtor. These steps shall lead to shortlisting of such transactions which carry the potential of being preferential.

4. In the next step, the said shortlisted transactions would be scrutinised to find if the transfer in question is made for or on account of an antecedent financial debt or operational debt or other liability owed by the corporate debtor. The transactions which are so found would be answering to clause (a) of sub-section (2) of Section 43.

5. In yet further step, such of the scanned and scrutinised transactions that are found covered by clause (a) of sub-section (2) of Section 43 shall have to be examined on another touchstone as to whether the transfer in question has the effect of putting such creditor or surety or guarantor in a beneficial position than it would have been in the event of distribution of assets per Section 53 of the Code. If answer to this question is in the affirmative, the transaction under examination shall be deemed to be of preference within a relevant time, provided it does not fall within the exclusion provided by sub-section (3) of Section 43.

6. In the next and equally necessary step, the transaction which otherwise is to be of deemed preference, will have to pass through another filtration to find if it does not answer to either of the clauses (a) and (b) of sub-section (3) of Section 43.

7. After the resolution professional has carried out the aforesaid volumetric as also gravimetric analysis of the transactions on the defined coordinates, he shall be required to apply to the Adjudicating Authority for necessary order/s in relation to the transaction/s that had passed through all the positive tests of sub-section (4) and sub-section (2) as also negative test of sub-section (3).

On a motion made by the resolution professional after and in terms of the exercise aforesaid, the Adjudicating Authority, in its turn, shall have to examine if the referred transaction answers to all the descriptions noted above and shall then decide as to what order is required to be passed, for avoidance of the impugned transaction or otherwise.

Looking to the legal fictions created by Section 43 and looking to the duties and responsibilities of the resolution professional and the Adjudicating Authority, ordinarily an adherence to the process illustrated hereinabove shall ensure reasonable clarity and less confusion; and would aid in optimum utilization of time in any insolvency resolution process.

(See para 28 ofthe judgment)

Disclaimer: This post is informative purpose only.

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