NCLAT issues stay order on insolvency proceedings against HCL Tech

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The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has put a stay on the insolvency proceedings against India’s third largest IT services player HCL Technologies. The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had on January 17, 2022 had initiated for insolvency proceedings against the company.

The stay order has been received after C Vijayakumar, MD & CEO filed an application in the NCLAT. A senior spokesperson only stated that a stay order has been obtained against the insolvency proceedings. The NCLAT order copy has been seen by Business Standard.

An HCL Tech spokesperson said: “The Company has appealed to the Hon’ble National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), who have stayed the said NCLT order.”

The NCLAT in its hearing said that the dispute was genuine between the parties but the insolvency resolutions proceedings (IRP) should not have been initiated. “The Adjudicating Authority proceeded to decide the dispute between the parties like a civil court which ought not to have been done,” said the NCLAT. The next date of the hearing for the case will be February 16, 2022.

The case against HCL Tech was filed by Sahaj Bharti Travels on August 6, 2019 through an e-application to the NCLT. The company claimed that HCL Tech had continued to default on its payment under the minimum guarantee clause of the agreement amounting to Rs 3.54 crore.

NCLT admitted the application on January 17 this year, thus initiating the insolvency proceedings under Section 9(5) of the IBC 2016 act and also appointed an Insolvency Resolution Professional (IRP) to take over the functioning of HCL Tech with immediate suspension of the company’s board.

HCL Tech counsel said that a reply was submitted on June 25, 2019 denying the claim and in the reply detailed facts indicating that minimum Guarantee claim was not payable because there was breach of conditions and penalty was also imposed on the cab operator. It is further submitted that entire payments pertaining to invoices issued by operational creditor has been made

The NCLAT observed: “We have looked into the reply by which notice of dispute was given, which indicate that a genuine dispute was raised by the Corporate Debtor. Learned Counsel also referred to the email exchanged between the parties before issuance of Demand Notice, which clearly indicates that there was genuine dispute between the parties.”