The Supreme Court on Friday stayed for three weeks the Madras High Court’s December order directing winding up of SpiceJet for non-payment of unpaid dues of $24.01 million to Swiss stock corporation Credit Suisse AG.
The high court had stayed the operation of its order, including the publication of the winding-up order for SpiceJet, till Friday so as to allow the airline to move the apex court.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for SpiceJet, informed a bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana that the airline wants three weeks’ time as it is trying to “work something out” with the Swiss firm. Senior counsel KV Vishwanathan, appearing for Credit Suisse, agreed on an adjournment but contended that the current offer on dues made by the airline was “not even worth mentioning”. He further said Credit Suisse was not opposed to the adjournment provided SpiceJet made a “serious offer” and strictly stuck to the timeline.
The CJI also slammed the airline for its conduct, asking, “Do you want to run the show or close it? Why don’t you produce your financial statements? This is not the way to run an airline… this is a serious matter. If they don’t want to run the airline, then we will declare it insolvent and direct it for liquidation…” the CJI said.
The airline had challenged the Madras HC division bench’s ruling, which had on December 7, upheld its single judge’s decision to wind up the company. However, the division bench had extended the interim stay till Friday as the low-cost carrier had already deposited $5 million in the court. The single judge had ordered the winding up of SpiceJet and asked the official liquidator to take over the airline’s assets.
The division bench had ruled in favour of Credit Suisse, a Zurich-based company, which was assigned the right to receive the payments due to SR Technics. Credit Suisse had moved the winding-up petition pursuant to failure on part of SpiceJet to honour some invoices the former had raised in 2013. The HC had rejected the airline’s stand that SR Technics did not have a valid licence to carry out aircraft maintenance services from the DGCA as required under the Aircraft Act, and therefore, the enforcement of the claim would be against public policy.