The Narendra Modi led NDA government overhauled the bankruptcy regime in the country by introducing the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (The Code). The Code is a central Act enacted for reorganization and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximization of the value of assets of such persons. IBC was enacted and came into force w.e.f. 28th May 2016, however, some of the sections were made effective on various dates to implement in a systematic manner. Some of the parts have not even been notified till date i.e. 01/01/2019 e.g. bankruptcy process for partnership firms and individuals. The era before IBC had various scattered laws relating to insolvency and bankruptcy which caused inadequate and ineffective results with undue delays. These included the Securitization and reconstruction of financial assets and enforcement of security interest (SARFAESI) Act for security enforcement, Recovery of debt due to banks and financial institutions for debt recovery by banks and financial institutions, Companies Act for liquidation and winding up of the company, etc. For instance, in 2015, insolvency resolution in India took 4.3 years on an average. This is higher when compared to other countries such as United Kingdom (1 year) and United States of America (1.5 years). Ineffective implementation, conflict in one of these laws and the time-consuming procedure in the aforementioned laws, made the Bankruptcy Law Reform Committee to draft and introduce Insolvency and Bankruptcy Law bill. The objective of IBC stated: “An Act to consolidate and amend the laws relating to reorganisation and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximisation of value of assets of such persons, to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance the interests of all the stakeholders including alteration in the order of priority of payment of Government dues and to establish an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.” Since this is a fairly new legislative, it becomes necessary for law firms and lawyers to make themselves conversant with all aspects of the legislation. Besides, the government has been constantly attempting to reduce any discrepancies and conflicts with other laws through amendments. Additionally, the courts adjudicating on disputes involving IBC have been evolving interpretations of various provisions and scenarios. For instance, the Supreme Court recently upheld the 2018 IBC amendment, ruling that homebuyers can be treated as financial creditors. In the Essar Steel case, the Supreme Court is also set to decide whether financial creditors and operational creditors should be treated at par with each other in the resolution plan. Law firms and lawyers therefore need to keep themselves abreast with all developments in the field to be able to efficiently advise clients. Services offered by them could include strategy and advisory, filing/defending an application, assisting in revival/resolution, handling the liquidation process, and recovery and execution. They also need to be well-informed and in tandem with the various institutions that the Code creates, including insolvency professionals, insolvency professional agencies, information utilities, adjudicating authorities and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.

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