The Appellants contend that the total aggregate amount of the ‘Operational Debt’ from
the Operational Creditors (OC) is 32.78% of the total debt. However, no notices of the
meeting of the Committee of Creditors (“CoC”) were given to the Appellants, denying
them an opportunity to participate in the meetings.
The Appellants further content the order given is discriminatory in nature as a mere 1%
of their total claim was admitted and 100% claim of the farmers was admitted, that
100% is paid under the plan, and that this is discriminatory as the farmers do not form a
class by themselves under the Code
The Respondents contend that the Appellants are entitled to ‘NIL’ payment as per
Section 30(2)(b) of the Code and that 100% of the payment made to the farmers cannot
be considered because this was to ensure that the ‘Corporate Debtor’ which is a Sugar
Plant remains ‘a Going Concern’, with farmers being the backbone of the industry.
The Appellant’s claim in respect of the total debt constitutes only 8 to 9% and they had
failed to inform the Resolution Professional (RP) of the name of the authorized
representatives who should be given notice for the CoC meetings. The RP had received
their claims earlier in February and March, 2019 but they never approached the RP as a
group or as a consortium and filed their claims in individual capacity.
NCLAT observed that the CD was a sugar plant, and the farmers were an integral part
thereof whose families are dependent on it. Moreover, the NCLAT observed that even
the secured Financial Creditors (FC) accepted that 100% payment should be made to
the farmers who are the backbone of the industry. NCLAT found no embargo in
classification of the OCs into separate different classes for deciding the way in which
money is to be distributed to them by the CoC of CD.
The Respondents contended that the commercial wisdom of the Committee of Creditors
in determining the amounts to be paid to different classes and sub-classes of creditors
in accordance with provisions of IBC and Regulations thereunder cannot be questioned
and relied upon the Supreme Court’s order in Essar Steel.
The Resolution Plan was approved and NCLAT concluded that the limited scope of
judicial review, can in no circumstance trespass upon a business decision arrived at by
the majority of Committee of Creditors.