NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) order permitting the Centre to appoint directors to financially stressed realty major Unitech would have no impact on the court’s primary focus to protect the interest of homebuyers.
Referring to Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra‘s continued incarceration and the development in the NCLT after the Centre moved the tribunal for appointment of government nominated directors to wrest management control of the company, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dipak Misra said, “The man is already in jail. New directors have been permitted to be appointed. Their first responsibility is to comply with the Supreme Court’s order and protect the interest of homebuyers.” On Friday, the NCLT had allowed the Centre’s plea to take over the management of Unitech on the ground that the way the company was carrying out business was harmful to public interest. The tribunal had suspended the eight directors and permitted their substitution by government nominees.
On learning about Unitech’s appeal against NCLT’s order alleging that it was contrary to the series of orders passed by the SC, the bench headed by the CJI said, “We will hear the appeal on Tuesday. Since the Union government has moved the NCLT for taking over Unitech management, let it be present through its counsel during the hearing.” The CJI added, “We are more concerned about homebuyers than other investors. Homebuyers are not investors.” Appearing for Unitech and Chandra, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar said since the government was permitted by NCLT to take over management of the company, it would now be the responsibility of the Centre to refund homebuyers.
On September 8, the SC had promised flats, plots or refund to all investors in Unitech’s housing projects and told Chandra that he had to settle with each and every homebuyer by the end of this financial year, that is March 31, 2018.
“You (Chandra) have to pay back money or allot flats or plots to all investors by the end of this financial year. We do not know from where you will arrange the money. But you have to do it for all projects of Unitech,” it had said.