The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice in a plea seeking directions on the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT Principal Bench at Delhi) to modify its SOP dated January 3, 2021 by allowing only electronic filing in view of the prevalent situation amid second Covid wave.
FULL TEXT OF THE HIGH COURT ORDER /JUDGEMENT
CM APPL. 16682/2021
1. Exemption allowed, subject to all just exceptions.
2. The application stands disposed of.
3. The present petition has been filed by an advocate-in-person being aggrieved by the revised SOP issued by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on 03.01.2021.
4. The petitioner submits that the said SOP makes it mandatory that at the time of filing, along with the e-filing receipt, a hard copy of the pleadings be filed manually at the NCLAT filing counter. He further submits that most other forums, including the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) have, as on date, in view of the huge surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, permitted e-filings to be carried out, provided they are accompanied by an undertaking that, if necessary, the parties/litigants shall file hardcopies of the pleadings once the Tribunal resumes physical functioning. He submits that since the learned NCLAT, by way of the revised SOP, is insisting that hard copies of pleadings be filed, lawyers/litigants are being forced to personally visit the Registry of the learned Tribunal and expose themselves to the risk of contracting COVID-19. He, therefore, prays that a direction be issued to the NCLAT to dispense with the requirement of submitting hard copies of pleadings at the time of filing, in order to accommodate the exigencies of the pandemic.
5. Although I find prima facie merit in the submissions of the petitioner, since none appears on behalf of the respondent, no orders in this regard are being passed at this stage. Issue notice to the Registrar, NCLAT through all permissible modes, including e-mail, returnable on 27.05.2021.