The Centre for Transnational Commercial Law (CTCL) National Law University, Delhi organised a symposium on “Transnational Commercial Law, Insolvency, Restructuring, Entrepreneurship: Promoting Trade and Development post the Pandemic” at National Law University, Delhi through virtual/online mode, in collaboration with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) the UNCITRAL RCAP, and INSOL India, supported by the Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, UK, Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, Campbell University, USA, Centre for Transnational Business and the Law, Georgetown Law USA, International Law Institute, Washington DC, INSOL India, UNCC India. The symposium had sessions spread across two days, where on day 1 (6th Jan. 2021), topics of general transnational commercial law were covered, and day 2 (7th Jan 2021) was devoted to sessions focused upon various contemporary issues of Insolvency & Bankruptcy.
The inaugural session on Day 2 was opened by Dr. Risham Garg, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Transnational Commercial Law. After giving a brief introduction, wherein he talked about the need to keep up hope and build resistance in these times due to the great disruption brought about by the pandemic. A major thought behind the symposium was the objective of promoting entrepreneurship in the long title of the Code. The symposium offers Continuous Professional Education hours credit to the Insolvency Professionals registered with the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India.
In his Welcome address, Prof. Rao also discussed how the IBC 2016 was a milestone legislation, especially in promoting ease of business, and highlighted the importance of transnational commercial law. He also commended the Indian Government’s proactive measures in encouraging commercial endeavours by entrepreneurs in the country. He emphasized the importance of the alternative dispute resolution methods as well, and the urgent requirement to incorporate them in the daily legal proceedings. He ended with a message of hope of the pandemic coming to an end and the world moving towards normalcy, and all the stakeholders coming together to see how entrepreneurship can be geared.
The Partner Address was given by Mr. Amarjeet S. Chandhiok, Senior Advocate and President of INSOL India. He congratulated all the stakeholders for the smooth-functioning of the Code, and highlighted that even though several provisions of the Code have been suspended in light of the pandemic, the resolution process has become all the more important. He focused on how currently, the major goal for the country in these areas is capacity building. In consonance with Prof. Rao’s words, he pointed towards Section 12A of the Code, which promotes mediation and resolution among the stakeholders. He ended by expressing his hope that future lawyers will promote resolution and best practices under the Code.
This was followed by the inaugural address delivered by Dr. M.S. Sahoo, Chairperson, IBBI. His address focused on the importance of economic freedom and the regulation of such freedom in moderation to enable a thriving economy. He talked about how insolvency reforms seek to rescue a failing but viable firm by introducing a new management in the firm. The freedom of exit is especially important, and a system cannot penalise an entrepreneur, otherwise it would seriously thwart the growth of a company. He further talked about the importance of adapting to the changing times, and that the state and businesses cannot stick to status quo and cling to the old order. He called for change with the changing times. Much more importantly, he also talked about the significance of opting for a “creative destruction”. He used the term in context of allowing firms to go for liquidation, and expressed his desire towards busting the myth that liquidation is something undesirable. He rightly pointed out that by not allowing zombie firms to not liquify, the entire economic order of a country suffers a great cost, and the legislation and the system should be limited to only making an attempt to rescue the company. For this, he gave the example of the case of Orchid Healthcare Plan Ltd. However, having said this, he also added that on an average, only twenty five percent of the companies have to go into liquidation, and assets have been rescued in the rest of the cases. He followed this by giving various statistics in brief relating to the number of companies who have entered into CIRP, the number of cases which have been successfully resolved and/or settled, and the number of pending cases, thereby bringing the attention of the audience to the success of the IBC. He also very cleverly compared the options available to a stressed firm with the various medicinal options available to an ill person. He also made a reference to the Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech, wherein he had lauded the IBC and the work of the IBBI from saving various stressed companies from complete destruction. Dr. Sahoo ended his speech with emphasising that the law can only nudge a company toward value maximising outcomes, but the real decision will have to be made by the stakeholders, and that it is important that the Code is in consonance with market realities.
The session ended with a vote of thanks delivered by Dr. Garg, wherein he reiterated the goals of the Symposium, made note of the fact that the Symposium has seen over 500 participation registrations over the course of these two days, and thanked all the speakers, attendees and the academic institutions which had collaborated in the organisation of the Symposium.
PFA the Program schedule and the Registration flyer for your kind perusal. The format is structured as a symposium, where each speaker speaks/presents for 10-15 minutes, with Q&A at the end. Click here for program schedule.
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