The Centre has set up a separate Bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) at Chennai.
The new NCLAT Bench will go live on Wednesday and hear appeals against the orders of the Benches of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) having jurisdiction over Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh. Telangana, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
The new Bench will help unclog pending cases at NCLAT Delhi, which will now function as the principal Bench and continue to hear appeals other than those that come under the jurisdiction of the Chennai Bench.
It will go a long way in ease of doing business for litigants, say corporate observers.
All the pending cases in NCLAT Delhi with jurisdictions related to the South will now be transferred to the Chennai Bench, sources said.
Indications are that the Centre may consider establishing similar NCLAT Benches in the Western and Eastern parts of the country.
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and NCLAT had replaced the Company Law Board from June 1, 2016.
The NCLAT is also the appellate forum for all insolvency as well as competition cases.
Saurav Kumar, Partner, IndusLaw, a law firm, said the move will help unclog numerous cases pending before the NCLAT. “We can expect a much faster process for appeal cases. It would be interesting to see if the pending cases are immediately transferred to Chennai, or admit only new appeal cases from the South.” It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had in January 2019 directed the Centre to set up ‘circuit Benches’ for NCLAT in the next six months.
The direction came in an apex court judgment — delivered by Justices RF Nariman and Navin Sinha — dismissing 10 petitions challenging various provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
Aseem Chawla, Managing Partner, ASC Legal, a law firm, said the setting up of the Chennai NCLAT Bench reflects the importance and need of pervasive presence and is a welcome move.
“Like all illustrious tribunals the challenge would be uniformity expected in judicial making process and standardisation,” he said.