The petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the order which was dated 08.07.2021 “Impugned Order” and letter dated 16.07.2021, which includes the filing of C.P. No. 295/MB/2021 and the same issue was held in the judgement passed by a single bench judge comprising HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE REKHA PALLI, in the matter, SUNIL TANDON V. UNION OF INDIA & ANR dealt with an issue mentioned above.
The facts were mentioned as such that the present petition was that the respondent no.3 company, of which the petitioner is an erstwhile independent Non-Executive Director till 18.05.2018, is a part of a group of companies associated with the flagship company i.e. Videocon Industries Ltd. and was admitted under the IBC Framework and thereafter, made subject to the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) before the NCLT, Mumbai Bench on 31.08.2018.
On 08.06.2021, the resolution plan which was filed by Twin-Star Technologies Ltd. for the consolidated CIRP of all the Videocon Group companies was approved by the NCLT, Mumbai Bench. Upon the said order being assailed by way of Company Appeal Nos. (AT) (Insolvency) 503 and 505 of 2021, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), on 19.07.2021, stayed the said order.
Meanwhile, respondent no.1, based on the material placed before it by the Resolution Professional (RP), passed the Impugned Order on 08.07.2021 directing the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) W.P.(C) 10645/2021 to investigate the affairs of Videocon Industries Ltd. and its group companies, including respondent no.3. And also it was mentioned that respondent no .3. filed a company petition bearing C.P. No. 295/MB/2021 before the NCLT, Mumbai which, on 31.08.2021.
The order which was passed by the NCLT, Mumbai whereby inter alia all his assets have been attached, the petitioner has approached this Court seeking quashing of order dated 08.07.2021 and letter dated 16.07.2021 issued by respondent no.1, and has also prayed that the proceedings initiated before the NCLT, Mumbai Bench, including the order dated 31.08.2021.
Mr Arvind Nigam, learned senior counsel for the petitioner, was that the proceedings initiated by respondent no.1 before the NCLT, Mumbai are a nullity as the Bench at Mumbai did not have any jurisdiction to entertain such a petition because of the proviso to Section 241(2) of the Companies Act, 2013 which in unequivocal terms states that only the NCLT, Principal Bench at New Delhi has the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain a petition under Section 241(2) W.P.(C) 10645/2021 filed by the Central Government. Consequently, any order passed by the NCLT, Mumbai is non-est and liable to be ignored by this Court; which has, therefore, rightly been approached by the petitioner to seek quashing of the order dated 08.07.2021 and letter dated 16.07.2021 issued by respondent no. 1 at Delhi.
Mr Nigam urged that once the proceedings under Section 241(2), initiated at the instance of respondent no.1, could be filed only before the Principal Bench, NCLT and not before the NCLT, Mumbai Bench; the NCLT, Mumbai Bench has while passing the impugned order on 31.08.2021, exercised jurisdiction which is not at all vested in it. He contends that in the present case, once the NCLT had proceeded to entertain a petition which it had no jurisdiction to deal with, merely because the petitioner has an alternative remedy of approaching the NCLT or the W.P.(C) 10645/2021 NCLAT, cannot be a bar from his invoking the writ jurisdiction of this Court. He also submits that the reliance on the observations of the Apex Court in Embassy Property (supra), Mentioned that the present case squarely falls within the well-recognised exception to the self-imposed restraint of the High Courts to entertain a writ petition once a statutory alternative remedy of appeal is available as there was lack of jurisdiction on the part of the NCLT, Mumbai Bench in entertaining the petition.
The court mentioned the below statement after referring to a lot of case laws and conclude that, I may observe that the petitioner has, by relying on the decisions in Navinchandra N. Majithia vs. State of Maharashtra and Ors. (2000) 7 SCC 740 and M/s Sterling Agro Industries Ltd. vs. Union of W.P.(C) 10645/2021 Page 22 of 22 India & Ors. ILR (2011) VI Delhi 729, urged that this Court has territorial jurisdiction to deal with the matter as the impugned order dated 08.07.2021 and letter dated 16.07.2021 were issued by respondent no.1 at Delhi. However, because of my conclusion that the present petition is not maintainable on account of the alternative statutory remedies available to the petitioner and not for want of territorial jurisdiction, I do not deem it necessary to delve into this aspect.
The court perused the facts and argument’s presented, it thought that- “The writ petition, along with the pending application, is dismissed. Needless to observe that this Court has not gone into the merits of the petitioner’s challenge to the impugned orders and letter and therefore, the petitioner will be at liberty to raise all grounds raised in the present petition either before the NCLT or NCLAT, which he may choose to approach”.
Judgment Reviewed by; Mandira BS