The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), Principal Bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan, Chairperson and Technical Members Barun Mitra and Arun Baroka was hearing an appeal on Wednesday and held that the limitation period for filing appeals under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) commences from the date when the court pronounces the order and is not dependent on when the appellant becomes aware of the order's contents.
In the present NCLAT judgment, two cases were considered, both involving appeals filed under Section 61 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The main issue revolved around when the clock starts ticking for filing an appeal under this section.
Company Appeal (AT) (Insolvency) No. 1071 of 2023 involved an order dated 08.05.2023, and the appeal was filed electronically on 04.07.2023. The appellant argued that they only received the order on 02.06.2023, which, according to them, meant the appeal was filed within the time limit.
Company Appeal (AT) (Insolvency) No. 588 of 2023 pertained to an order dated 12.01.2023, and the appeal was e-filed on 11.03.2023. The appellant claimed that they learned about the order's contents on 08.02.2023, justifying the slight delay in filing the appeal.
The central question was whether the clock for filing an appeal under Section 61 of the IBC starts running from the date of the order or from the date when the appellant becomes aware of the order's contents.
The appellants relied on a precedent case, "Raja Harish Chandra Raj Singh v. The Deputy Land Acquisition Officer," arguing that knowledge of the order's contents, whether actual or constructive, is crucial for determining the appeal's limitation period.
However, the judgment clarified that when orders are pronounced in the presence of the party or their counsel, knowledge of the contents is effectively communicated. This means the limitation period begins from the date of pronouncement. The judgment emphasized that the IBC is a self-contained legal framework, and any contradictions with other laws must be interpreted within the IBC's context.
In conclusion, the judgment clarified that the limitation for filing appeals under the IBC starts from the date when the order is pronounced, regardless of when the appellant becomes aware of the order's contents. Additionally, the delay in filing an appeal can only be excused for a maximum of 15 days under Section 61(2) of the IBC. This judgment provided clear guidance on when the clock starts ticking for filing appeals under the IBC, underscoring the importance of timely appeal submissions.