Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated Chennai Bench of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in virtual mode. It is the second Bench of NCLAT in the country whereas the NCLAT New Delhi Bench is the Principal Bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal established in 2016.
During her address, Nirmala Sitharaman observed, “Southern States normally do have this feeling that to seek justice they travel too far because access to justice, in terms of physical access, has been always a challenge to the southern States, which are so far and distantly placed, like the way north-eastern States feel, from Delhi. In this context, other than Delhi, to have a Bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in Chennai to take care of the southern States. I think is a major step forward and the efforts taken by the NCLAT New Delhi Bench, in particular Justice Bansi Lal Bhat, I thank you very much for providing this access to justice for the companies that are located in far flung States in the southern region".
Finance Minister added that she also felt a sense of personal satisfaction given that she herself is from a Southern State. She said, "In a way, I have a particular sense of satisfaction because, being from the southern States myself, I have most often felt that Delhi was too distant for us, and therefore the companies ....".
She further stated that despite being in existence for only 4 years, approximately 5,600 cases were filed at the NCLAT New Delhi Bench as of December 2020, and approximately 3,800 cases pertaining to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) alone have been handled. In total, about 4,200 cases were disposed of.
Moreover, the NCLTs have dealt with around 71,000 cases, of which 50,000 cases approximately have been disposed of, she added.
Before concluding her address, Sitharaman also lauded the NCLAT and the National Company Law Tribunals (NCLTs) in continuing to function effectively during the COVID-19 lockdown and afterward as well.
Acting Chairperson of the NCLAT New Delhi, Justice Bansi Lal Bhat in his introductory address, observed that while 4 years is too short time to adjudge the efficiency of a legal framework. While wishing the NCLAT Chennai a resounding success, he also recounted the words of former NCLAT Chairperson, S. J. Mukhopadhaya that speed is the essence of any resolution process. Judicial Member at the NCLAT Chennai Bench, Justice Venugopal M. rendered the vote of thanks before the inaugural event came to a close.
Balvinder Singh, Technical Member is transferred to the Chennai Bench so that he holds court with Justice Venugopal M., Judicial Member.