Friday, January 27, 2023

Supreme Court expunges personal remarks by 5-member bench of NCLAT against 3-member bench

The three-sitting members namely Justice(Retd) Jarat Kumar Jaun, Bhavinder Singh and Vijai Pratap Singh had approached the Supreme Court to expunge the adverse remarks by the five-member bench.

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The Supreme Court on Friday expunged the “ unsavoury” and “disparaging” comments made by a five-member bench of the National Company Law Tribunal against a three-sitting member bench of the Tribunal.

The three-sitting members namely Justice(Retd) Jarat Kumar Jaun, Bhavinder Singh and Vijai Pratap Singh had approached the Supreme Court to expunge the adverse remarks by the five-member bench. 

The three-member bench had made a reference to a larger bench questioning the observations made in the judgment of V. Padmakar case in which it was held that entries in books of accounts will not amount to acknowledgement of debt under Section 18 of the Limitation Act. 

The five-member bench later turning down the reference observed,  “It was a matter of judicial discipline for the referral bench to follow the judgment of the five-member bench in V Padmakumar’s case as a binding precedent and not question the correctness of the judgment by adopting cut and paste methodology in branding the five member bench judgment in V Padmakumar’s case as so very incorrect divorced of the context…this brings us to consider the most painful aspect of the misadventure undertaken by the Referral bench in making the reference which have found to be incompetent”.

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The three-member bench have submitted in their petition that the larger bench cannot 

“venture into making personal comments against the members of the referral bench only because it finds the order of reference wither not maintainable or not in accordance with the position of law on the subject, as held by such larger bench”.

It was further submitted,

“Larger bench has crossed both these limits of its jurisdiction and has made unsavory and most disparaging comments which tend to be personal in nature against the referral bench.”

The plea has been filed by Advocate Amit Sharma.

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