Madras High Court dismisses SpiceJet’s appeal challenging order of company court admitting a winding up petition, appointing an official liquidator

The Madras High Court in the case of SpiceJet Limited v/s Credit Suisse AG dismissed the appeal of SpiceJet challenging the order of the company court admitting a winding up petition and appointing an official liquidator.
The appeals were filed by the respondent of the Company Petition, challenging the order of Company Court, which stated admission of the winding up petition, which is filed invoking Sections 433 (e) and (f) of the Companies Act, 1956, and appointment of the Official Liquidator, High Court of Madras as Provisional Liquidator.

Senior advocate, Mr. V. Ramakrishnan for the appellant Company, contended that the documents relied by the petitioner Credit Suisse, Switzerland are not stamped and therefore the Courts in India will not take cognisance thereof and, the S.R.Technics did not have valid license from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and therefore it could not have legally maintained the Aircrafts / Engines of the appellant Company and consequently no amount could be said to be payable by the appellant to it and thereby there is bonafide dispute with regard to the said payment.

Advocate Mr. Rahul Balaji on behalf of the respondent has vehemently opposed the appeals and contended that the order passed by the Company Court ordering admission of the winding up petition under Section 433 (e) and (f) of the Act and appointment of the Official Liquidator, High Court, Madras as Provisional Liquidator can not be said to be erroneous in any manner and no interference be made by this Court.

The division bench of Mr. Justice Paresh Upadhyay and Mr. Justice Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup noted that the Company Court has taken note of the decision of the Division Bench of the Court, so also that of the Bombay High Court which takes the view that, at the time of admission of the winding up petition, the point at issue is not whether the document sought to be relied by the petitioner is sufficiently stamped or stamped at all.

The only point to be verified is whether the debt is bonafide disputed and whether the said defence is a substantial one.

The court while dismissing the appeals held that no interference is required in the impugned orders, however since the time limit prescribed in the impugned orders may require some modification because of the time lag of about two weeks, only that modification may be required, which may be done after hearing the parties, for that limited purpose.

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