NCLT to hear only urgent cases due shortage of members

National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) will hear only urgent matters from August 10 due to a shortage of judges, a move that could hamper the timely recovery of debt for lenders. An order issued by the tribunal on August 8 says that all NCLTs “will take up only urgent matters through VC (video conference) till further orders.”

The order states that there is a shortage of members throughout NCLT benches that is amplified further with “members seeking leave on account of a health and personal reason.”

The tribunal is operating with 50% strength following the retirement of several members. According to media reports, NCLT has 30 vacancies against a sanctioned strength of 63 members. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs is responsible for the timely appointment of NCLT members.

As many as 20,963 cases are pending before NCLT until May, per the response to a query in the Parliament. NCLT precedes over corporate resolution and insolvency process, personal insolvency and matters related to amalgamation and mergers of corporations.

The Supreme Court has often questioned the centre for the delay in appointing judges leading to a rise in backlog and thus delay in justice.

The gross non-performing loans of 31 banks are at Rs 6.95 lakh crore, according to a report released by the

research team. In the last five years, banks have written off Rs 9.9 lakh crore loans, according to a response to a query in Parliament. However, lenders are pursuing legal remedies to recover these loans, said a bank official.

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