The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the appeal of Jalan-Kalrock Consortium (JKC) that sought a stay on the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order directing it to pay provident fund and gratuity dues to workers and employees of Jet Airways.
In a January 13, 2023 order, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) had approved transfer of Jet ownership to JKC.
The consortium had approached the SC after its plea seeking to cap its payment liabilities at Rs 475 crore under the approved resolution plan was struck down by the NCLAT on December 6, 2022.
Following the apex court’s refusal to interfere, JKC will now have to fork out an additional Rs 200-250 crore to fulfil its payment obligations. JKC has maintained that it is not liable to pay anything beyond the Rs 475 crore mentioned in the resolution plan. This includes payment of Rs 380 crore to lenders and Rs 52 crore to employees.
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It had also said any further payment liabilities will jeopardise the resolution plan and with it the efforts to revive Jet Airways. An email sent to JKC seeking comments on Monday’s SC ruling remained unanswered at the time of going to print.
Last week, lenders of erstwhile Jet Airways approached the NCLAT opposing the January 13 NCLT order which states that the airline’s new supposed owners have fulfilled all the conditions precedent.
The lenders, through their counsel, had sought a suspension of two weeks of the order which was disallowed by the NCLT judges. Although there was no official statement from the lenders, the street expected them to approach a higher court to challenge the NCLT order.
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With the effective date reset to November 16, JKC has time till May to settle all dues and take over the management control of Jet Airways.
The NCLT had first approved JKC’s bid for Jet Airways in June 2021 following bankruptcy proceedings initiated against the airline after it stopped operations in April 2019.
JKC missed several deadlines to get Jet airborne despite claiming to meet all the required conditions under the plan. While October was the last known deadline for the airline to fly again, there has been no word from the consortium about its revised plans.