NEW DELHI: A new book that aims to provide a comprehensive and practical understanding of the IBC's impact on the resolution process for financially distressed companies saw a power-packed release at the India International Centre.
Defaulter’s Paradise Lost: Demystifying The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code by Anant Merathia, a practising corporate litigator and disputes resolution lawyer and published by Thomson Reuters, focuses on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) introduced in India in 2016.
The event chaired by Justice Sanjeev Khanna, judge at the Supreme Court of India saw retired Chief Justice of the High Court, Ramalingam Sudhakar; retired Judge of the Supreme Court, Ashok Bhushan on stage to share their views on the book and the Code. The launch moderated by Retd IAS office Raghav Chandra further saw an insightful panel discussion moderated by Insolvency lawyer Sumant Batra, with senior lawyers at the Supreme Court Arun Kathpalia, Madhavi Divan and Rana Mukherjee sharing their experience in such cases and elucidating the challenges faced.
Bankruptcy and Insolvency contribute to financial distress and if not addressed can hinder the race of a country to the number three economic power.
In this well-timed book, Defaulter’s Paradise Lost, Merathia draws from his experience in legal practice, presenting the evolution and dynamics of the IBC in a way that is accessible to a wide range of readers.
Defaulter’s Paradise Lost: Demystifying The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has received some impressive early praise from subject matter experts Justice Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy, Dr TK Viswanathan, Chairman, Bankruptcy Law Reforms Committee, Sanjay Pinto, Advocate, Legal Columnist, Author and Former Resident Editor NDTV 24x7 and Scott Atkins, President, INSOL International among others.
The book is structured to guide readers through the different aspects of the IBC in a manner that is free from excessive legal jargon, making it easier for professionals, stakeholders, students, and others to comprehend.
Raghav Chandra IAS (Rtd.)in his opening remarks welcoming the audience and the erudite guest and panel on stage said that Anant's book is an inspiring one and offers a practical perspective to different stakeholders involved in insolvency and liquidation proceedings.
The author, Anant Merathia, the primary objective behind this book was to provide a reference guide or go-to guide to all the stakeholders when a law touches upon the lives of so many of them. He added that moreover, when the intent and the design of the law itself is to have a wider inclusion of stakeholders in the process it was only natural to bring out a simple, accessible guide not just for the professionals associated with IBC but also for the stakeholders impacted by it.
During the discussion, Hon’ble Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar Retd. Chief Justice of the High Court, President of the National Company Law Tribunal mentioned an IIM Ahmedabad report of August 2023 which stated that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has remarkably altered how distress and defaulting businesses are handled by the stakeholders.
He further added that the Banks should be diligent and vigilant. There has to be some method where the default at the first instincts comes to the red flag or orange flag and before the erosion of the value comes, it has to be taken into the CRP process. Justice Ramalingam said, "We have that speed but unfortunately, the banks are coming at a moment when it is pass the ICU stage, they should do it at the earliest point of time because that’s safe."
He said that with this new code, India seems to be on a much better footing as against other countries in the world in so far as insolvency resolution.
Guest of Honour Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan, Retd. Judge of the Supreme Court of India, Chairperson of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, in his speech and a review of the book mentioned that all the chapters were perfectly drafted keeping in mind different levels of awareness of its readers. He complimented Merathia on justice done through his book in explaining how the IBC being such a new law has seen so many interceptions in the form of amendments in just so few years since its inception. Justice Bhushan congratulated the author and his team for an excellent book.
Sanjeev Khanna, Chief Guest and Hon’ble Judge of the Supreme Court of India, in his keynote address, highlighted the three areas that required some examination. The first one was in regard to the pre-default stage that is at the risk stage, the assessment and the remedies. He added that there is also a need for formulation of a pre-default debt recovery mechanism and debt restructuring options. The second area he pointed out was the inclusion of special situation funds which dealt with the bad debt problems. The third one he pointed out was directly related to corporate governance, level of probity and ethical work.
The release followed an interactive session led by Sumant Batra as the moderator, between Arun Kapalia, Rana Mukherjee and Mari Goradia Divan. The conversation delved into the role of lawyers and the increasing complexity of the Insolvency Bankruptcy Code (IBC).
The event concluded with Merathia’s vote of thanks. The packed event that concluded in a little beyond two hours saw senior advocates Rana Mukherjee, P Nagesh, Om Prakash, S Ravi, SR Ganda and Sricharan among several other NCLAT and NCLT members in the audience.