Tag Archives: Resolution Professional

Entities as Insolvency Professional!!


Can a hospital be registered as a doctor? Can a court be called a judge?

We respect collective and coordinated efforts. However, no Human Collective can replace the prime and primary element – Human.

The Insolvency Resolution Process is a collective effort under the leadership of the Insolvency Professional. He led his team from a tight rope wearing a crown of thorns.

There is no doubt. Insolvency Professionals need services and help. After getting a declaration of independence, he hires independent professionals like advocates, chartered accountants, company secretaries, and valuers. These professionals, as per Regulations, should not be related to significant stakeholders, including the Resolution Professional. While managing a stressed company as going concern, he hires CFO, CEO and other professionals and try not to continue with the old team which led that company into stress.

The Insolvency Professional also hire his own team like any other professional like doctors, Advocate or company Secretaries hire their qualified, semi-qualified, skilled and unskilled staff. Similar to any other professional, all payments to his team and staff members are made from the professional fee of Insolvency Professional.

My emphasis is the Insolvency Professional need a good team in which he has long-term faith and confidence. No doubt, the Insolvency Professional is as independent as his team is. But every Insolvency Professional, at least in his initial years, do not have the resources to build his team.

Presently, an Insolvency Professional (IP) may have services of the Insolvency Professional Entities (IPE) in which he holds a leading position. Still, these services should be on an arm’s length basis. This is on an Insolvency Professional whether he wants to join an Insolvency Professional Entities or not. Despite the growth, the concept of Insolvency Professional Entities is not much popular among Insolvency Professionals. Out of 140 Insolvency Professional Entities total of 44 have shut their shop. Their closure does not impact the insolvency resolution but the finance of the Regulators – 3 IPAs, the front-line regulator, and the IBBI, the principal regulator.

Unfortunately, most of the failed Insolvency Professional Entities failed as the team usually reports to the protagonist promotor of the Insolvency Professional Entities and fails to get the confidence of the other Insolvency Professionals in the entity.

With this background discussion, now I come to the Discussion Paper on enabling entities to become insolvency professionals dated 14 June 2022, issued by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.

The Statement of Problem in this discussion paper has two noteworthy observations:

  1. Ensuring continued business operations of a stressed company is an onerous job, and it may not be possible for a single professional to take on the multi-task activities of the board of directors, along with other important insolvency resolution process functions, that too in a time-bound manner;
  2. To fulfil their duties under section 25 of the Code, the resolution professional tends to outsource his functions to other persons such as Insolvency Professional Entities, Process advisors etc. The supporting entities are often not under any strong regulatory framework. Accordingly, it is not possible to fix accountability on unregulated entities.

There is no possibility of disputing the first observation. Ensuring continued business operations of a stressed company and conducting insolvency resolution of a stressed company without any business operation is not possible for a single professional. They need a team.

Regarding second observation hereinabove mentioned, I have the following questions:

  1. Will the whole board of directors of the Insolvency Professional Entity replace the board of the stressed company?
  2. Will every person employed by the Insolvency Professional Entity comes under a strong regulatory framework?

My general reply is negative. However, if it is affirmative, it is affirmative also for the team of all persons hired or employed by any individual Insolvency Professional.

Permitting a company, limited liability partnership or registered partnership firm (hereinafter called Entities) as an Insolvency Professional does not facilitate the Insolvency Process beyond the existing possibilities. We assume economy of scale and joint efforts in the case of Entities as Insolvency professionals. Any legal entity is as good as the individuals behind it. These entities will manage by their promoter or Principal officers.

So, why not an Individual Insolvency Professional can have a proper setup? There should be no reason except for a lack of initial capital and regulatory support. Therefore, whatever facility regulators are willing to provide to these Entities should also be provided to Individual Insolvency Professionals. Further, Regulators should also facilitate the One Person Companies (OPC) of Insolvency Professionals.

I am publishing this on the blog for discussion purposes. I will submit my final thought with IBBI one or two days before the last date.  

Disclaimer: The writer is an Insolvency Professional, and his interest may impact the outcome of this discussion.

Aishwarya Mohan Gahrana, Company Secretary and Insolvency Professional

To Join my telegram Channel: https://t.me/AishMGhrana
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Proposed Fee and Expenses Mechanism for Resolution Professionals


The Discussion Paper on Remuneration of an Insolvency Professional, dated 9 June 2022, issued by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, is a welcome step.

Remuneration and expenditure consume a significant chunk of time during meetings of the Committee of Creditors. After that, Resolution Professionals need to follow up for payment and reimbursement. Every Resolution Professional spent a good portion out of his pocket without a chance for interest payment. Higher the number of members in the Committee of Creditors, there are lesser chances of timely payment or reimbursement. The Discussion Paper rightly mentions litigations for professional fee payment and recovery of expense amount.

Since the first direction issued by the Hon’ble Adjudicating Authority in March 2018 for framing necessary regulations or guidelines regarding fixation of fees and resolution cost, the IBBI waited long for market maturity to settle this issue. Sadly, we lost the well-intentioned time due to the immaturity of the market.

The most unfortunate situation for Resolution Professional is a frequent request for postponement of the resolution for Professional fee at every meeting until the Resolution Professional exhausts most of his available (ideally less than 2500) working hours in the resolution process and loses negotiation power.

Now, we will discuss the proposed amendment.

[Proposed Regulation 34A(1)]: “The applicant, the Adjudicating Authority and the committee shall fix the fee to be paid to interim resolution professional or the resolution professional, as the case may be, under regulation 33 and 34, respectively, in accordance with the Schedule II.”

The reference of the Committee of Creditors is not required here. The Committee shall ratify and/or fix the remuneration under Proposed Regulation 34A(2).

I propose:

“The the applicant or the Adjudicating Authority shall fix or where the applicant or the Adjudicating Authority did not fix a fee, the minimum fee to be paid to the interim resolution professional or the resolution professional, as the case may be, under regulation 33, shall be in accordance with the Schedule II.”

[Proposed Regulation 34A(2)]: “The committee may ratify an amount higher than the amount fixed under clause (1) of Schedule II, as may be necessary.”

The Committee has two options. It may either ratify the fee fixed by the applicant or the Adjudicating Authority or itself fix the professional fee. The term “ratify” in the proposed draft does not convey the meaning “to fix a fee”. Here, the Committee should have the power to ratify or fix a fee.

I propose:

“The committee may ratify the fee fixed under sub-regulation (1) or may fix a fee to be paid to the interim resolution professional or the resolution professional, as the case may be, under regulation 34, , in accordance with the Schedule II.”

[Proposed Regulation 34A(3)]: An insolvency professional shall submit a statement towards estimate of his fee and fee of the resolution professional in the following manner:
(a) to the applicant immediately on his appointment as an interim resolution professional;
(b) to the Committee at its first meeting and thereafter till the appointment of the resolution professional; or
(c) to the Committee in the first meeting conducted immediately after his appointment as resolution professional.”

I understand this regulation firstly with plain reading and secondly reading with the discussion paper.

How can an Interim Resolution Professional submit a statement towards an estimate of the fee of yet to be appointed the Resolution Professional? At most, he can submit a statement of assuming his own appointment. The reasoning for this proposal is not clear. Usually, Insolvency Professionals give a well-drafted proposal estimating fee and other major expenses with their consent to act IRP or RP. There is no point in having it a recurring exercise.

If I understand it correctly, I propose:

“An insolvency professional shall submit a statement towards estimate of his fee in the following manner:
(a) to the applicant immediately on his appointment as an interim resolution professional;
(b) to the Committee at its first meeting after his appointment as an interim resolution professional; or
(c) to the Committee in the first meeting conducted immediately after his appointment as resolution professional.”

If I refer to the discussion paper again on this point, it talks about an estimate of fees and expenditure on the hiring of other professional and support providers. In such a case, I propose:

“An insolvency professional shall submit a statement towards an estimate of expenditure including his fee in the following manner:
(a) to the applicant immediately on his appointment as an interim resolution professional;
(b) to the Committee at its first meeting after his appointment as an interim resolution professional;
(c) to the Committee in the first meeting conducted immediately after his appointment as resolution professional; and
(d) to the Committee in the next meeting, where there is an upward change in the estimate of expenditure.”

Schedule II

The Discussion Paper proposed a three-tier structure:

  1. The fee of IP in CIRP –Fixed Fee (Minimum) Per Month;
  2. Performance Linked fee structure for timely completion of CIRP; and
  3. Performance-linked fee structure relating to Value Maximization

I have no view on the Minimum fee structure and welcome it as a good start.

The discussion paper suggests performance-linked fee structure for timely completion is a mandatory feature. However, Clause (2) of the Draft Schedule II makes this incentive optional by using the term “may”. I suggest the replacement term “may” with “shall”. This incentive is quite hard to earn but a good morale booster.

The discussion paper suggests an optional performance-linked fee structure relating to Value Maximization. I fear Insolvency Professionals will look for big value corporate debtors with good realization chances. However, best efforts should be incentivized and welcomed. I understand the Committee of Creditors may be the best judge on this.

The amount payable under clauses (2) and (3) is proposed to be capped at ₹ 5 Crore. I could not visualize much difference with or without this cap except for a few high-stake cases.  

Proposed Regulation 34B(1): An insolvency professional shall create an escrow account in the name of corporate debtor, in respect of his fee, and fee for the resolution professional, immediately on his appointment as an interim resolution professional.

I welcome the intention. However, there is a practical difficulty in complying with the Draft Regulation. If the Insolvency Professional opens an escrow account in the name of the Corporate Debtor, Banks asks PAN, Address Proof and Incorporation Documents of the Corporate Debtor. Most of the time, one or more of these documents are not readily available due to non-cooperation. IBBI and RBI should discuss waiver of these documentary requirements, and the order of initiation of corporate insolvency may suffice to open this account. Alternatively, the escrow account may be in the name of Interim Resolution Professional. On the appointment of any other person as Resolution Professional, the balance amount should be transferred to the escrow account of the Resolution Professional so appointed.

Secondly, the escrow account is not only for a fee but for expenses also.  

I am not suggesting any change in the draft regarding the name of the account due to a lack of my knowledge and will leave it for future developments. Except for this, I propose the following changes:

An insolvency professional shall create an escrow account, in respect of the estimate of expenditure, including Interim Resolution Professional and Resolution Professional, immediately on his appointment as an interim resolution professional.

Proposed Regulation 34B(2): The applicant or the Committee, as the case may be, shall deposit in the escrow account, or in alternate arrange for interim finance for depositing in the escrow account, the amount fixed under regulation 34A within 72 hours of submission of the statement by the insolvency professional.

I have nothing to discuss or suggest on this point.

Proposed Regulation 34B(3): The interim resolution professional or the resolution professional shall be eligible to withdraw the amount deposited in the escrow account towards his fee and shall provide the details of withdrawals to the Committee in the statement prepared under regulation 34A.

I again submit the escrow account is not only for a fee but for expenses also.

I propose:

The interim resolution professional or the resolution professional shall be eligible to withdraw the amount deposited in the escrow account towards his monthly fee approved by the Committee of Creditors and payment of other expenditures may be made as and when ratified by the Committee of Creditors.

Proposed Regulation 34B(4): The remaining amount, if any, in the escrow account shall be released upon approval of resolution plan under section 31 or passing of an order for liquidation of corporate debtor under section 33.”

I have nothing to discuss or suggest on this point.

I am publishing this on the blog for discussion purposes. I will submit my final thought with IBBI one or two days before the last date.  

Disclaimer: The writer is an Insolvency Professional, and his interest may impact the outcome of this discussion.

Aishwarya Mohan Gahrana, Company Secretary and Insolvency Professional

To Join my telegram Channel: https://t.me/AishMGhrana
To Join my telegram discussion group (only for CA/CS/CMA/IP/RV): https://t.me/AishMGhrana

CBIC IBC Instruction needs to supplement


The Instruction No. 1083/04/2022-CX9 dated 23.05.2022 is a welcome step to the extent it came at least though it came late. This instruction and annexed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the NCLT cases regarding filing claims by authorities under CBIC required to be filed under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) took almost six years.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy jurisprudence and environment are still in a nascent stage. This instruction is a minor step to remove one of the main hurdles. Insolvency Professionals feel duty-bound to inform the Government Authorities about the Tribunal order for insolvency resolution and their appointment, moratorium, invitation of claims and public announcement. The information of insolvency was usually taken as lightly as a waste paper by authorities armed with the power to attach any property and assets of assesses and accused.

These Government Authorities faced several legal and ego issues:

  1. How could Government Authorities, a legal and sovereign superpower, fall in the category of operational creditors? NOIDA is still facing the same dilemma and running post to pillar to satisfy its legal soul and ego. After losing on judicial fronts, they are pleading to Parliament for an amendment to the Code.
  2. How could a private person, the Insolvency Professional, ask a government authority to file the claim before himself? How could such a person claim the status of a court officer or legal jurisdiction over government authority?
  3. How could a government authority with the power to issue notice, summon someone, and assess tax liabilities suddenly run to the office of a private person, the Insolvency Professional, for approval of their claims? It hurts when an Insolvency Professional declines to receive claim paper (post ninety days), accepts claims, seeks bulky clarification or counters the claim based on his own wisdom.

This particular instruction dated 23.05.2022 is not without discrepancies and practical difficulties. The instruction correctly claims:

“3. One of the reasons for such delay in filing the claims is that concerned zonal offices have not received information regarding initiation of the process in a timely manner. Accordingly, it has not been proposed that IBBI would share the details of the public announcement on a regular basis to an identified office/office or a centralised system and hence it has been requested that such office/officer/system I CBIC need to be identified and intimated to the IBBI for implementing the system for sharing of information.”

This assertion indicates a pathetic situation.

Government Authorities and other persons may receive first-hand information on the insolvency or liquidation or bankruptcy orders directly from National Company Law Tribunal. Theses Instructions rely upon communication from the IBBI. The IBBI itself got this information with a 3-5 days delay.

There is a little time gap in IBBI Communication, which is required to be plugged.

In a practical scenario, within three days of appointment as an Interim Resolution Professional or Liquidator, the Insolvency Professionals issue public notices in newspapers and then send a copy to upload on the IBBI website. In addition, all insolvency professionals send information about the commencement of the insolvency resolution process by email and, if possible, by speed post to all potential claimants, including government authorities, tax authorities, suppliers, and bankers, subject to information received from the corporate debtor or gathered from secondary sources.

There may be a centralised nodal email address of authorities under CBIC. Insolvency Professionals could send an email about the commencement of the insolvency resolution process. Such email may have a standard subject line like <CIRP/Liquidation> <Company Name> <Company CIN> <Company PAN> <State> <Last date of filing Claim> for easy understanding and communication.

These Instructions issued by CBIC do not facilitate Insolvency professionals to communicate with powerful tax authorities directly. If CBIC does not enable Insolvency Professionals, it does not help CBIC authorities to file claims timely.

IBBI has a proper mechanism of email communication of daily development on the public announcement, invitation of claims, invitation of resolution plans and auction notices. Anyone can subscribe to the same. Point No. iv of SOPs annexed with this instruction must have mentioned it more clearly.

However, there is a little time gap in such IBBI Communication, which is required to be plugged. The copy of the public notice does not upload automatically on the IBBI website without their internal approval. Therefore, public notices may display on the IBBI website and communicate with a delay. IBBI may permit such public notices to be uploaded automatically with a copy of the NCLT order as soon as the concerned IRP/Liquidator drafts and upload the same on the IBBI website. This way, it may appear on the website and in newspapers on the same day.

Concerned officials of Government authority and Insolvency Professionals lack clarity on the filing of government claims. Such as; which officer has the authority to sign the claims, make declarations and affidavits, what supporting documents are required in claims by tax authorities and correspondence addresses like email and postal address, the release of properties and assets attached by tax authorities, and vacation of lien on bank accounts and other assets. All these issues and challenges lead to delays in the claim verification and the insolvency resolution process. Therefore, I suggest the next set of instructions and Standard Operating Procedures should have appropriate advisories on these matters. This will certainly assist in reducing litigation.

I have an additional suggestion for CBIC, which affects the microeconomic environment and MSMEs in particular. Unless the management of the corporate debtor under insolvency resolution is cooperating, Insolvency Professionals have no mechanism to have details of suppliers and service providers. All these suppliers and service providers are fellow operational creditors of these tax authorities under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Jurisprudence. CBIC has nation wise data of these suppliers and service providers, including their official email and postal addresses. In case of authorities under CBIC may, please provide such data of the last three years concerning the corporate debtor to concern insolvency professional; it may help better invitation of claims and verification thereof. Authorities under CBIC may also flash a message of public notice to these fellow operational creditors in an automated system.

Aishwarya Mohan Gahrana

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MODE FOR SUBMISSION OF CLAIMS


Insolvency and Bankruptcy law is affecting ordinary people outside business houses, including real estate buyers. Mode for submission of claims before the Resolution Professional or liquidators has one of the technical questions.

Under the insolvency and bankruptcy law, claimants before Resolution Professional or liquidator may either be of the following categories:

– Financial Creditors;

– Class of (financial) Creditors (There must be at least 10 Financial Creditors to form a class of creditors);

– Operational Creditors;

– Workmen and Employees (individually);

– Workmen and Employees (for All); or

– other than those covered.

All these categories for creditors should file their claims before the resolution professional or liquidators.

Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2016 prescribed mode to submit a claim is hereunder:

• In Electronic Form

– Financial Creditors – Form C

– Class of Creditors (at least 10 FC) – Form CA 

• By post or by electronic means 

– Operational Creditors –Form B

– Workmen and Employees (individually) – Form D

– Workmen and Employees (for All) – Form E

• In person, by post or by electronic means

– other than those covered – Form F

Please note, this is my presumption that common claims for numerous workers or employees be filed either through post or electronic mode. Unfortunately, the relevant sub-regulation is silent on this aspect.

There are a similar provision under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Liquidation Process) Regulations, 2016.

What will happen if a person does not file a claim in the legally mandated mode to submit their claim. Will the resolution professional or liquidator deny accepting these claims? Will it be proper compliance of law on the part of the insolvency professional to accept all claims in person? 

I have no answer. 

To avoid, I prefer submission of claim in electronic mode with a copy of these claims in physical format. Physical format, particularly in case of big bank loan, become bulky, but it helps cross-reference while verifying these claims. Further, it is not easy to notice alterations in soft copies.

I also advise claimants should not send original documents except claim forms and verification undertaking or affidavit.