Search Results For: Acknowledgement of debt

CORAM: , ,
COUNSEL: , , , , ,
DATE: April 15, 2021 (Date of pronouncement)
DATE: April 17, 2021 (Date of publication)
AY: -
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Limitation Act: The principle of s. 9 of the Limitation Act, namely, that when time begins to run, it cannot be halted, except by a process known to law, has to be strictly adhered to. S. 18 of the Limitation Act, which extends the period of limitation depending upon an acknowledgement of debt made in writing and signed by the corporate debtor, is also applicable to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code since s. 238A uses the expression “as far as may be” governing the applicability of the Limitation Act. An entry made in the books of accounts, including the balance sheet, can amount to an acknowledgement of liability within the meaning of Section 18 of the Limitation Act. The notes annexed to or forming part of the balance sheet, or the auditor’s report, must be read along with the balance sheet. (V. Padmakumar v. Stressed Assets Stabilisation Fund (NCLAT)(FB) reversed. All imp judgements referred).

Under S. 18 an acknowledgement of liability signed by the party against whom the right is claimed gives rise to a fresh period of limitation. Under Explanation (b) to the Section the word ‘signed’ means signed either personally or by an agent duly authorised. A company being a corporate body acts through its representatives, the Managing Director and the Board of Directors. Under S. 210 of the Companies Act it is the statutory duty of the Board of Directors to lay before the Company at every annual general body meeting a balance sheet and a profit and loss account for the preceding financial year. S. 211 directs that the form and contents of the balance sheet should be as set out in Part I of Schedule VI. The said form stipulates for the details of the loans and advances and also of sundry creditors. The balance sheet should be approved by the Board of Directors, and thereafter authenticated by the Manager or the Secretary if any and not less than two directors one of whom should be the Managing Director. (See S. 215). The Act also provides for supply of copies of the balance sheet to the members before the company in general meeting. Going by the above provisions, a balance sheet is the statement of assets and liabilities of the company as at the end of the financial year, approved by the Board of Directors and authenticated in the manner provided by law. The persons who authenticate the document do so in their capacity as agents of the company. The inclusion of a debt in a balance sheet duly prepared and authenticated would amount to admission of a liability and therefore satisfies the requirements of law for a valid acknowledgement under S. 18 of the Limitation Act, even though the directors by authenticating the balance sheet merely discharge a statutory duty and may not have intended to make an acknowledgement.