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In this editorial episode, Mr. Sujit Nair addresses the recent contempt of court proceedings initiated by the Supreme Court of India against the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). The Supreme Court took a strong stance on Wednesday against NCLAT’s judicial member Rakesh Kumar and technical member Alok Srivastava for allegedly violating its order and delivering a judgment. A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud expressed their displeasure, stating that they were prepared to send these individuals to Tihar jail if they defied the Supreme Court’s order. The Chief Justice emphasized the court’s authority and stated that they believed the NCLAT members had attempted to defy their order, making them liable for contempt proceedings. The bench has summoned the two officials to appear in person before the court on October 30, highlighting concerns about a systemic issue, describing it as a “”rot”” that has affected both the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and NCLAT. This specific case served as an example of this problem. The Supreme Court was examining a case related to the disclosure of results from the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Finolex Cable. On October 13, the Supreme Court directed NCLAT to issue its judgment and declare the AGM results only after receiving the scrutinizer’s report. However, the NCLAT did not comply with this directive. Upon learning of this, the Chief Justice instructed NCLAT’s chairperson, Justice Ashok Bhushan, to provide a report regarding the defiance of the Supreme Court’s order. The allegation against the NCLAT bench is that they disregarded the Supreme Court’s order issued earlier in the day, despite being informed of it. The order in question was issued by the Supreme Court on Friday morning, instructing the NCLAT not to deliver its judgment in a pending appeal until the scrutinizer’s report, declaring the AGM results, was available. During the hearing, the Chief Justice expressed his astonishment at the NCLAT’s actions, particularly when they were explicitly informed of the Supreme Court’s instructions. He stressed that individuals with significant resources and influence should not attempt to manipulate the court, and he emphasized the court’s commitment to upholding its orders. The Supreme Court overturned the NCLAT’s order and made it clear that Corporate India should understand that the court is vigilant and will act when its orders are subverted. The Chief Justice also noted concerns about a judge’s impartiality and instructed Justice Ashok Bhushan to rehear the case.
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