In a major development and in the interest of 32,000 homebuyers, the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday refused to allow Jaypee Associates to deposit Rs 400 crore with its registry as against Rs 2,000 crore directed by it. Also, the SC asked the real estate firm to submit a substantial amount to prove its intentions are bona fide. The real estate firm was asked on September 11 to deposit Rs 2,000 crore with the apex court registry by October 27. Jaypee rushed to the top court saying no company possessed such a huge amount of liquid fund and urged that it should be allowed to deposit Rs 400 crore by Friday. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said Rs 400 crore was a paltry sum and the firm will have to deposit substantial amount to establish its bona fide.
“Arrange whatever money you can arrange, but it must be a bona fide exercise,” the bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said when the counsel for the firm said the shareholders’ consent would be needed to sell the assets of the group.
‘Deposit at least Rs 1000 crore’
The bench then said that the firm may consider depositing at least Rs 1,000 crore by November 13 with its registry.
What’s the entire matter?
The top court had on September 11 directed the Jaypee Associates to deposit Rs 2000 crore by October 27 and asked the NCLT-appointed interim resolution professional (IRP) to take over its management and work out a plan to protect the interests of homebuyers and creditors. It had also restrained the managing director and directors of Jaypee Infratech Ltd from travelling abroad without its permission and asked the parent company, Jaypee Associates, to deposit the money. The top court had asked Jaypee Infratech to hand over the records to the IRP for drafting of a resolution plan indicating protection of interests of over 32,000 hassled home buyers and creditors. It had also stayed any other proceedings instituted against Jaypee Infratech for any purpose in any forum like the consumer commission, as IRP has been given control of the company’s management. The court had allowed Jaypee Associates to raise Rs 2000 crore by selling land or properties and deposit them in the apex court registry by October 27. The court had also appointed senior advocate Shekhar Naphade as amicus curiae to assist the proceedings of the IRP, which will submit a resolution plan indicating how to safeguard the interest of home buyers and secured creditors.
What about homebuyers?
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board, had said that 627 units have been delivered to home buyers since the proceedings against the company began.
Homebuyers including one Chitra Sharma had moved the apex court saying that around 32,000 people had booked their flats and they are now virtually dying while trying to pay the installments. The top court had on September 4 stayed the insolvency proceedings against the real estate firm at National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
Flat buyers, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of 2016, do not fall in the category of secured creditors like banks and hence they can get back their money only if something is left after repaying the secured and operational creditors, Sharma, in her plea, said. Hundreds of home buyers have been left in the lurch after the NCLT, on August 10, admitted the IDBI Bank’s plea to initiate insolvency proceedings against the debt-ridden realty company for defaulting on a Rs 526 crore loan, the plea added.