SC expunges remarks by NCLAT chief against three members

The Supreme Court on Friday expunged remarks made by a National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) bench, headed by its acting Chairperson Justice Bansi Lal Bhat, against three sitting members of the tribunal.

A bench headed by Justices R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai passed the order on a plea filed by three NCLAT members.

“We are with you,” the top court told the petitioners — Justices (retd) Jarat Kumar Jain, Bavinder Singh and Vijay Pratap Singh. The petitioners were on the bench which had referred the matter to a five-member bench headed by acting Chairperson.

The top court queried counsel representing the petitioners whether it should it expunge the remarks straight away? As counsel said yes, the bench immediately ordered expunging the adverse remarks made by the five-member bench.

The petitioners have contended before the top court that they had just acknowledged the position of law, which the larger bench was competent to examine the issue against the backdrop of a previous judgment.

The petitioners submitted that it is well-settled law that the larger bench must not venture into making personal comments against members of the bench which referred the matter. They added that the larger bench should not make remarks if it is of the opinion that the reference order was not maintainable or not in accordance with the law.

The three-member bench, which comprised the petitioners, in September last year, had referred a matter in connection with the entries of book of accounts of a company and acknowledgement of its debt.