“Grant Civil and Criminal Immunity to Administrators of Delhi Gymkhana Club”, Center to NCLT

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New Delhi, July 31 (IANS): The central government has petitioned the National Company Law Tribunal to seek civil and criminal immunity for the six directors, appointed by it in April to manage the affairs of the Delhi Gymkhana Club (DGC).

The Department of Corporate Affairs, in a request, said: “The newly appointed directors risk being exposed to past liabilities incurred by Respondent Company No. I (DGC) due to actions taken/not taken by the old management.”

He added that directors can be rendered invalid or disqualified under the law, including but not limited to sections 164 and 167 of the Companies Act. “Furthermore, various procedures under the Companies Act 2013 or rules thereunder may have to be complied with which would invariably delay and prevent prompt action which must be taken by said directors,” the request added. .

The government urged the court to declare that the newly appointed directors “should not, in the exercise of their collective or individual responsibilities, be subject to any civil and/criminal and/or punitive action, direct or indirect or of any kind, by state or central government agencies, whether in the exercise of their statutory, quasi-judicial or regulatory powers or otherwise without the prior permission of such court or central government . »

Citing court orders over ailing Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS), the government sought immunity for the six directors for “past wrongdoing” allegedly committed by previous commissions. The claim argued that the court shielded new IL&FS board members from criminal and civil lawsuits.

Speaking to IANS, Atul Dev, a member of the last elected general committee of the DGC, said: “The government cited the IL&FS order asking for immunity, but the IL&FS and the club are separate issues. They cannot be compared.”

The government has urged the court to adopt a directive that newly appointed directors “shall not be subject to any invalidity or disqualification under any law, regulation or directive (including sections 164 and 167 of the Companies Act, 2013) or any liability, financial or otherwise arising out of or in connection with their tenure as directors in Respondent Company No. 1”.

In the context of the DGC’s immunity from past liability, the government argued that it would assist the directors to take corrective action in good faith and in good faith for the purpose of effective independent functioning, individually and collectively, and for the effective enforcement of the court order.

The directors were instructed to manage the affairs of the company in accordance with the Memorandum and Articles of Association and the Companies Act 2013. In the April 1 order, the court had noted that there were allegations financial irregularities as well as violation of membership conditions. rules of the prestigious club.

The government said the trustees were carrying out a crucial public duty by providing proper management and guidance to navigate the club. “The said directors are persons of great eminence having an excellent reputation in their respective fields. The said directors will bring to Respondent Company No. 1 the discipline and necessary skills which would be necessary to make amends in the management of Respondent No. 1. 1 Company,” the request reads.

Dev added: “There have never been any specific charges against the club. In fact, only vague statements of ‘parivarvaad’ have been made against the club. In search of immunity, the new administrators are worried they of their own actions or past actions of the directors”.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs first appointed M. M. Juneja, a special duty officer in the ministry, as the administrator of the club in early 2021. Soon Juneja was replaced by VK Yadav of Railways, who at his tower gave way to Om Pathak in May. 2021. Last year in December, club members alleged that Pathak was changing the distinctive character of the more than 100-year-old club, and also blocked objections to the policy changes he had made. On April 3 this year, Pathak was replaced by the six directors.

Six administrators are: BJP lawyer and spokesperson Nalin Kohli, former Indian government secretary Malay Kumar Sinha, BJP member Kuljeet Singh Chahal, former secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology Ajay Sawhney, former Chief Executive of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) Kumar Rajesh Chandra and former Indian Revenue Officer Ashish Verma.

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