Legal Article

Time-Bound Insolvency Resolution under IBC: A Deep Dive

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate

High Court Lucknow

Article | Insolvency Law

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Published on: 2 Aug, 2023

Time-Bound Insolvency Resolution. Insolvency and bankruptcy procedures in many countries have been historically criticized for their lengthy and often unpredictable timelines. Recognizing this challenge, India took a transformative step with the introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in 2016 with Time-Bound Insolvency Resolution. One of the IBC’s salient features is its emphasis on a time-bound resolution process. Let’s delve deep into how the IBC institutionalizes this and its implications.

Understanding the IBC Framework

The IBC consolidates India’s insolvency and bankruptcy laws. It aims to promote entrepreneurship, balance the interests of all stakeholders, and provide a swift mechanism for the resolution of insolvency cases, whether it involves companies, partnerships, or individuals.

Time-Bound Resolution: The Cornerstone of IBC

1. The 330-Day Mandate:

  • Originally, the IBC set a 180-day timeline for resolving insolvency cases. Under specific circumstances, they could extend this by another 90 days, making the total period 270 days.
  • However, after making certain amendments in 2019, they added a 60-day window for legal proceedings, extending the total effective timeline to 330 days.

2. Stages within the Timeline:

  • Initiation: A financial or operational creditor, or the debtor itself, can initiate the insolvency process. The adjudicating authority (NCLT) has 14 days to either accept or reject the application.
  • Public Announcement: Once approved, they make a public announcement about the insolvency resolution.
  • Appointment of Interim Resolution Professional (IRP): An IRP takes control of the debtor’s assets and forms a committee of creditors (CoC).
  • Resolution Process: The CoC has the initial 180 days to come up with a resolution plan.
  • Extension: If the CoC believes a resolution can be achieved but needs more time, it can propose an extension, but not beyond 90 additional days.
  • Final Decision: The resolution plan, once prepared, needs the NCLT’s approval. If no resolution is reached within the stipulated time, the entity goes into liquidation.

Why Time-Bound Resolution Matters

  1. Certainty and Predictability: Defined timelines introduce a level of predictability, making the business environment more conducive for both domestic and international stakeholders.
  2. Asset Value Preservation: Prolonged insolvency processes can erode the value of the debtor’s assets. Swift resolutions ensure maximum asset value retention.
  3. Boosting Credit Culture: By ensuring that defaulters cannot indefinitely delay repayments, the IBC promotes a robust credit culture.
  4. Encouraging Investments: With faster resolution mechanisms, investors have clarity and are more likely to invest in or acquire stressed assets.

Challenges & The Road Ahead

While the IBC has been transformative, it’s not without challenges. Legal complexities, multiple adjournments, and certain ambiguities in the Code have sometimes caused delays beyond the stipulated time frames. However, as the law matures and with the experience of stakeholders increasing, it is expected that the true essence of the time-bound resolution process will be realized more consistently.

Conclusion

The IBC’s introduction was a watershed moment for India’s corporate landscape, signaling the nation’s commitment to a robust, transparent, and efficient insolvency resolution process. While there may be teething troubles, the focus on time-bound resolutions underscores India’s dedication to creating a favorable business environment that respects the sanctity of contracts and timely fulfillment of obligations.

Tags: #IBC #Insolvency #Bankruptcy #TimeBoundResolution #IndianEconomy #NCLT