The Chennai Bench of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) will start functioning from Monday. To begin with, the hearing before this Bench will be in virtual mode in tune with the current pandemic times.
From January 25, all fresh appeals against the orders of the Benches of the National Company Law Tribunal having jurisdiction in respect of States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry would have to be made before the Chennai Bench of NCLAT, informed sources said.
The Centre had in March last year set up a separate Bench of NCLAT at Chennai. The COVID-19 pandemic and administrative delays around appointments had come in the way of the Chennai NCLAT Bench going fully functional last year, said Corporate observers.
Function of NCLAT Chennai Bench
The new Chennai Bench is expected to 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 is still not clear whether all the pending cases in NCLAT Delhi with jurisdictions related to the South would soon get transferred to the Chennai Bench or not. Indications are also 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.
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).
Commenting on the Chennai Bench of NCLAT becoming functional from Monday, G Ramaswamy, former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) told BusinessLine that people from Southern India can benefit from this move. He highlighted that there has been a surge in number of legal cases and this would provide an opportunity for litigants and professionals to get redressal without having to physically move to New Delhi for hearings.