Chartered accountant V Venkata Siva Kumar, on moving the public interest litigation as party-in-person, has contended that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2013 envisages a three-layered adjudicating mechanism. The aggrieved parties must first approach the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), constituted in several states as per Section 408 of Companies Act, 2013. He moved that the orders passed by these tribunals, can then only be challenged before the appellate body-NCLAT bench at New Delhi.
This had resulted in the principal bench at Delhi handling the entire traffic and volume of appeals from all over India, and in a day’s sitting, even hearing a mere 30 cases out of the 100 listed meant that each appeal is offered an average time of less than six minutes. Hence, it is impossible to get a fair hearing after incurring lakhs of rupees and there is a constant fear of imposition of huge penalties and adverse comments if the matter is pleaded vigorously, the petitioner said.
Further, he also submitted that the procedure of NCLAT which is meant to be very simple, in practice is very complex and beyond the reach of ordinary litigants.
He submitted that the growing number of stakeholders affected by the orders of the adjudicating authorities need expert lawyers to persuade the NCLAT registry at Delhi to get the appeals passed and listed for hearing, all amounting to high legal expenses.
Also, noting that the present process appears to be a live example of ‘justice hurried is justice buried and justice delayed is justice denied’ he submitted that NCLT which is meant for helping in recovering lakhs of crores of public money is functioning only with one principle bench at New Delhi for the past two years and this ought to be changed by establishing a regional bench in Tamil Nadu and until such time the notification is issued, the circuit bench shall hold the proceedings every month at Chennai, the PIL said.