In the Indian legal system, appeals from orders of the Tribunal can be made to the higher courts to seek a review or reconsideration of the decision. When it comes to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and its orders, appeals can be filed before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and, in certain cases, to the Supreme Court of India. The Companies Act, 2013, along with other relevant laws, provide provisions for such appeals. Here are the key aspects of the appeal process from orders of the Tribunal:
National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT):
The NCLAT serves as the primary appellate forum for appeals against orders of the NCLT. Parties aggrieved by the orders of the NCLT can file appeals before the NCLAT within the prescribed time limit.
Various orders passed by the NCLT are appealable before the NCLAT. These include orders related to:
- Approval or rejection of schemes of arrangement or compromise
- Orders for the winding up of companies
- Orders related to the appointment or removal of directors
- Decisions on applications filed under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016
- Any other orders specified by the Companies Act, 2013, or other applicable laws.
The Companies Act, 2013, prescribes a specific time limit within which appeals must be filed before the NCLAT. Generally, the appeal must be filed within 45 days from the date of the order of the NCLT.
Grounds of Appeal:
The appellant must clearly state the grounds of appeal, which should indicate the specific errors, omissions, or irregularities in the order of the NCLT. The grounds should establish that the order is legally unsustainable or against the principles of natural justice.
The NCLAT follows its own procedure for the admission, hearing, and disposal of appeals. It has the power to call for and examine records from the NCLT and can pass appropriate orders based on the merits of the case.
Supreme Court of India:
In certain cases, a further appeal can be made to the Supreme Court of India. This is typically done when the party believes that the NCLAT has erred in its decision or there are significant questions of law involved. The appeal to the Supreme Court is subject to the leave of the Court, which means the Court must grant permission to hear the appeal.
Power to Punish for Contempt
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) have been given the power to punish for contempt of court under the Companies Act, 2013.
Section 425 of the Companies Act, 2013 provides that the NCLT and NCLAT shall have the same jurisdiction, powers, and authority as that of a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, while trying a suit. As such, the NCLT and NCLAT have the power to punish for contempt under Section 2(a) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
The power to punish for contempt is a judicial power, and it is vested with the judiciary to protect the dignity and authority of the court. Contempt of court can be of two types, civil and criminal. Civil contempt refers to willful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or willful breach of an undertaking given to a court. Criminal contempt refers to the publication of any matter or doing of any other act which scandalizes or tends to scandalize or lower or tends to lower the authority of any court.
If a person is found guilty of contempt of court, the NCLT and NCLAT may impose a punishment of imprisonment for a term up to six months, or a fine of up to two thousand rupees, or both. In case of a repeated or willful disobedience of any order or direction of the NCLT or NCLAT, the punishment may be increased to imprisonment for a term up to two years.
It is important to note that the power to punish for contempt is a discretionary power, and is exercised cautiously and judiciously by the NCLT and NCLAT. The power is used to uphold the majesty and authority of the court and to ensure that the orders and directions of the court are not disobeyed or undermined.