national company law appellate tribunal

National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, Chennai: A Division bench comprising M. Venugopal, J., and Shreesha Merla* (Technical Member), held that a Resolution Professional can keep a claim in abeyance on the basis that the counterclaim of the Corporate Debtor is pending for determination in an Arbitration Proceedings.

Factual Matrix

In the instant matter, the appellant-Financial Creditor preferred a financial claim application, but the same was kept in abeyance by the Resolution Professional due to the pendency of the arbitration proceedings wherein the Corporate Debtor had filed its counterclaim and the same is pending for determination.

The Adjudicating Authority vide order dated 02-12-2022, dismissed the application and held that the applicant’s claim is collected and collated by the Resolution Professional and the same is kept in abeyance to decide the claim amount by the applicant with certainty. Aggrieved by the impugned order passed by the Adjudicating Authority, the appellant preferred an appeal before the NCLAT challenging the same.

Moot Point

Whether the Resolution Professional can keep a claim in abeyance on the basis that the Arbitration Proceedings are pending, wherein, the counterclaim of the Corporate Debtor is pending for determination?

NCLAT’s Observation

The NCLAT observed that the respondent contended that whether the appellant’s claim is admitted or rejected and what is the quantum of money and interest claimed will only be determined after the outcome of the Arbitration Proceedings where the determination of Corporate Debtor’s counter claim is pending, therefore the appellant’s claim was kept in abeyance.

The NCLAT observed that the appellant’s claim cannot be admitted till the counter claim of the Corporate Debtor is determined as the same may end in ‘set off’ of the sum payable to the appellant, therefore the Resolution Professional was within his power and limit to keep the Claims in abeyance for plurality of reasons.

NCLAT’s Verdict

In the light of arguments advanced by both the parties, the NCLAT held that since the arbitration proceedings in regard to the counterclaim of the Corporate Debtor is pending; the Resolution Professional can keep the claims in abeyance and the claim sum can only be determined with certainty after the determination of the arbitration proceeding, therefore, the Adjudicating Authority has rightly dismissed the Interlocutory application and the impugned order is free from any flaw.

[Anheuser Busch Inbev India Ltd. v. Pradeep Kumar Sravanam, 2023 SCC OnLine NCLAT 278, order dated 12-06-2023]

*Judgment by Justice M. Venugopal

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Promod Nair, Senior Advocate and Mr. Amar Gupta, Counsel for the Appellant.

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