Whether rentals due from premises leased to Corporate Debtor qualifies as an Operational Debt? | Can legal notice served after filing of IBC Section 9 application not qualify as a pre-existing dispute? – Vaibhav Aggarwal Vs. Mr. Sunil Sachdeva and Anr. – NCLAT New Delhi

Hon’ble NCLAT held that: (i) The Section 8 notice had not been replied to by the Corporate Debtor. Be that as it may, we cannot discount the stand taken by the Corporate Debtor that even if reply to Section 8 notice was not given, the Corporate Debtor is not precluded from establishing the existence of pre-existing disputes in its pleadings. (ii) A conjoint reading of Sections 5(20) and 5(21) of IBC also clearly establishes that tenancy and lease rent dues fall in the category of operational debt as defined under Section 5(21) of IBC. (iii) The legal notice was served after the filing of the Section 9 application and therefore cannot qualify as a pre-existing dispute. (iv) A Commercial Suit was filed by Respondent No.2 in February, 2020. The date of filing this suit is indisputably post the filing of Section 9 application and hence cannot be treated as a ground of pre-existing dispute.

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