The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on April 14, 2020 announced the extension of the lockdown till May 03, 2020 in view of containing the COVID 19 infection. Pursuant to the extension, the functioning of the courts have been further suspended. In view of the extension of the nationwide lockdown, the National Company Law Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as ‘NCLT’) has decided to maintain the status quo as it has decided to continue hearing only unavoidable urgent matters.
The NCLT had issued a notice on March 22, 2020 whereby it had suspended its judicial work and notified that it would hear only unavoidable urgent matters. Through its notice dated April 14, 2020, the NCLT has now extended the applicability of the earlier notice till May 03, 2020 and has reinstated the points of consideration of the earlier notice.
The notice dated March 22, 2020 had instructed adherence to the following:
- All NCLT benches shall remain closed from March 23, 2020 to March 31, 2020 for the purpose of judicial work, and only unavoidable urgent matters shall be heard on application by the aggrieved, through email to the registry NCLT Chennai after service of notice to the other side.
- Parties/counsels were abstained from making oral submissions. The NCLT further discouraged persons arriving to NCLT Chennai. The verification had to be carried out through an affidavit.
- As regard to the IBC-2016 matters, extension of time, approval of resolution plan and liquidation will not be construed as urgent matters. These matters will be taken up as soon as regular benches start functioning, until such time such application not to be filed.
The notice dated April 14, 2020 further added on the functioning of NCLT during Lockdown. It stated that the President, in addition to the earlier notices, will take further steps depending upon the exigencies of the litigant public and the same will be announced as and when any further decision is taken.
The above notification has arrived on time and has avoided any unforeseen situation or confusion that might have potentially arisen due to non-issuance of the notice. It has further reiterated upon the clarity for urgent matter and their qualification, removing all concerns in this regard whatsoever.