IBC – Approval Of Resolution Plan Does Not By Itself Discharge Liabilities Of Personal Guarantor Of Corporate Debtor
Case: Lalit Kumar Jain vs. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India
Coram: Justices L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat
Case No: TRANSFERRED CASE (CIVIL) NO. 245/2020
Court Observation: In view of the above discussion, it is held that approval of a resolution plan does not ipso facto discharge a personal guarantor (of a corporate debtor) of her or his liabilities under the contract of guarantee. As held by this court, the release or discharge of a principal borrower from the debt owed by it to its creditor, by an involuntary process, i.e. by operation of law, or due to liquidation or insolvency proceeding, does not absolve the surety/guarantor of his or her liability, which arises out of an independent contract.
For the foregoing reasons, it is held that the impugned notification is legal and valid. It is also held that approval of a resolution plan relating to a corporate debtor does not operate so as to discharge the liabilities of personal guarantors (to corporate debtors).
“The rationale for allowing directors to participate in meetings of the CoC is that the directors’ liability as personal guarantors persists against the creditors and an approved resolution plan can only lead to a revision of amount of exposure for the entire amount. Any recourse under Section 133 of the Contract Act to discharge the liability of the surety on account of variance in terms of the contract, without her or his consent, stands negated by this court, in V. Ramakrishnan where it was observed that the language of Section 31 makes it clear that the approved plan is binding on the guarantor, to avoid any attempt to escape liability under the provisions of the Contract Act”.
“It is, therefore, clear that the sanction of a resolution plan and finality imparted to it by Section 31 does not per se operate as a discharge of the guarantor’s liability.As to the nature and extent of the liability, much would depend on the terms of the guarantee itself. However, this court has indicated, time and again, that an involuntary act of the principal debtor leading to loss of security, would not absolve a guarantor of its liability”