Recovery proceedings were initiated before commencement of CIRP but the
attachment was made during CIRP period. The claim was filed by the department
beyond time and was not admitted by the RP and the same was challenged before
NCLT. The claim was rejected by NCLT & NCLAT as was filed at a belated stage.
The impugned order of NCLAT was challenged before the Hon'ble Supreme Court.
- The short question before the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the matter of
State Tax Officer (1) V/s. Rainbow Papers Ltd. was whether Sales Tax
Officer is a secured creditor due to Sec 48 of the GVAT Act and whether Sec
53 of the I & B Code, 2016 will override Sec 48 of the Act?
Proceedings cannot be continued against the CD, after the commencement of CIRP
due to moratorium u/s.14 of the Code. The RP, it seems, did not ask the
department to submit their claim with him. The department filed their claim at a
belated stage which was not entertained. As recovery proceedings were initiated
by the department prior to commencement of CIRP, the RP should have included the
details in the information memorandum ("IM") as per regulation 36 (2) (h) of the
IBBI (Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2016.
The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the matter of CoC of Essar Steel India Ltd. V/s.
Satish Kumar & Ors.
 has discouraged entertainment of claims filed at a
belated stage as it would amount to hydra head popping up which would throw into
uncertainty for the prospective resolution applicant (PRA). However, if the
detail of the proceeding of the department would have been reflected in the IM
prepared by the RP as required under regulation 36 (2) (h), then the PRA would
have been mindful of the claim of the department while submitting his resolution
When a claim is received by IRP/RP, the same has to be verified against various
applicable statutes like Stamp Act, Limitation Act among other applicable Acts.
As long as a statute can be read harmoniously with the Code, the provisions of
the statute will be applicable and cannot be brushed aside based on non-obstante
clause u/s.238 of the Code. Only in an event where a statute cannot be read
harmoniously with the provisions of the Code, the Code will prevail due to non-obstante
clause. Not all statute creates first charge on property of the CD. In fact, Sec
142A of the Customs Act creates first charge subject to the provisions of the
The Hon'ble Supreme Court has in the matter of Sundaresh Bhatt Liquidator of
ABG Shipyard V/s. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs
 held that
IBC would prevail over Customs Act in view of Sec 142A of the Customs Act.
Similarly, Sec 11E of the Central Excise Act & Sec 82 of the CGST Act are
subject to the provisions of the Code.
There is a lot of confusion on what will be the impact of the Supreme Court
judgment in the Rainbow matter. Whether the claim of statutory authorities
having first charge be considered as a financial secured creditors? What will be
the impact of the Rainbow judgment on pending resolution plans and liquidation
As the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court is interpretation of the provisions
of the Code and not a legislative amendment, the same will have retrospective
effect. The ratio laid down by the Rainbow judgment will impact all the pending
resolution plans and liquidation processes. However, resolution plans which
cannot be challenged in appellate authority due to limitation have attained
finality and cannot be reopened as mere over-ruling of the principles by a
subsequent judgment will not dilute the binding effect of the decision on
The Sales Tax department filed a Form B (Form for Operational Creditors) in the
Rainbow matter as their case was that they are secured operational creditor due
to operation of law, which was agreed by the Court. The statutory authorities
having first charge will have to be regarded as secured operational creditors as
the underlying charge is created due to operations of the CD.
Being secured operational creditors, the statutory authorities having first
charge will not be a part of the CoC. As statutory authorities having first
charge are secured creditors as per Sec 3 (30) of the Code as a security
interest is created in their favour due to Sec 3 (31) of the Code. Sec 53 (b)
(ii) of the Code does not differentiate between secured financial creditor and
secured operational creditor.
The statutory authorities being secured operational creditor will have to
relinquish their right of first charge on the property of the CD and remove
attachments on the property, if any. As operational creditors in a resolution
plan cannot be paid less than what they will be paid under liquidation, the
secured operational creditors will have to be paid equal to or more than the
liquidation value payable to them u/s.53 of the Code.
The Financial Creditors will either have to pay the secured operational
creditors equal to or more than the liquidation value under the resolution plan
or the secured operational creditors will receive the said value u/s.53 of the
Code in the liquidation process. To put it simply, the Financial Creditors
cannot escape payment to the secured operational creditors either under the
resolution plan or the liquidation process.
The views in the Article are personal in nature.
Written By: Ashish Jha, Advocate
based in Mumbai.
- Civil Appeal No.1661 of 2020
- Civil Appeal No.8766-67 of 2019
- Civil Appeal No.7667 of 2021