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Judge Receives Inaugural Award from Penn Law

Harold Berger was used to the questions.

As the only Jewish student in Archbald High School in Lackawanna County, he understood his classmates’ curiosity.

Harold Berger

“It was wonderful being the only Jew. I thought it was a great experience,” he said, although he admitted, “we had to go to my grandmother’s house for all the Jewish holidays and to synagogue in a bigger town over.”

A Catholic peer posited a question to the young Berger. “Harold, what do you think about Jesus?” the boy asked. “Jesus? I love Jesus,” was the reply. “He’s one of the greatest Jews ever, Jesus and Moses.”

Berger left the small town for the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, graduating in 1948 before attending Penn’s School of Law.

The former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge was honored May 12 with the inaugural Lifetime Commitment Award from Penn Law.

“I’ve been active in the law school since the day I graduated,” he remembered with a laugh. “I’ve been the chair of the reunions, I’m on the executive board of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, and I’m a part of the Friends of Biddle Law Library.”

Berger, 92, said that although he always knew he wanted to attend law school, he decided to first get his degree in engineering, not business.

“I had an interest in the technical era we were entering,” he explained. “I thought it would be a good background for law school. It was an interesting educational experience.”

After law school, Berger and his older brother began the law firm that still operates as Berger & Montague, P.C.

“When I got out of law school, there was a bias against Jewish lawyers entering big firms,” he said. “A lot of Jewish lawyers entered small firms or practiced by themselves.”

Berger still works as senior partner and managing principal of Berger & Montague and has offered guidance on a number of high-profile cases. During the aftermath of the Three Mile Island nuclear incident, he worked as a liaison counsel. He also served on the case-management committee after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Outside of the courtroom, Berger takes pride in his philanthropic ventures. He is an honorary trustee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and works with many Jewish charities, including Jewish Learning Venture, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Anti-Defamation League and HIAS.

He noted such charities, especially the Jewish Federation, “keep the entire Jewish community together, informed and active. It’s important to help needy Jews, elderly Jews, sick Jews, a lot of whom have no other options. HAIS and Jewish Learning Venture are tremendously important to me.”

Berger attends synagogue at Germantown Jewish Centre, where he has belonged since moving to Philadelphia as a young adult.

In addition to the Penn Law award, Berger received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Legal Intelligencer and the Special Service Award of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges.

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FCA to extend regulatory regime to 47,000 firms

UK financial watchdog rules set up to oversee bank bosses will also cover firms offering credit, costing them £550m

Businesses such as gyms will be among those included in the regulatory regime



Businesses such as gyms will be among those included in the regulatory regime.
Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

FCA to extend regulatory regime to 47,000 firms

UK financial watchdog rules set up to oversee bank bosses will also cover firms offering credit, costing them £550m

A regulatory regime intended to crack down on the behaviour of bank bosses is to be extended to 47,000 firms including dentists, gyms and tool hire companies that offer credit to customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority estimated that the new regime would cost firms £550m, with up to £190m of ongoing costs for the firms involved.

It had been expected that the additional firms would be covered by the senior managers and certification regime (SMCR) from 2018, although the FCA’s consultation document does not indicate if this is still the timetable.

The SMCR came into force for almost 900 banks and building societies in March 2016 and was intended to tackle the fact that no bank bosses were held to account when their firms collapsed in 2008.

It requires the responsibilities of top managers to be spelt out and for them to certify their key staff are suitable for their roles. This certification must now happen annually, whereas under the previous system the FCA approved individuals only once, unless they moved roles.

The FCA’s consultation paper sets out five “conduct” rules for firms: act with integrity; act with due care, skill and diligence; be open and cooperative with regulators; pay due regard to customer interests and treat them fairly; and observe proper standards of market conduct.

The Treasury had called for the broadening of the new regime two years ago when it also dropped a plan to “reverse the burden of proof” for managers, which would have forced them to demonstrate they had done the right thing if wrongdoing emerged on their watch.

Marian Bloodworth, an employment partner at law firm Kemp Little, said: “The change will also mean the end of the FCA register for the majority of financial services employees … This has been a cause for concern for those in the existing regime already, as it means there is no publicly available list of advisers for customers to review.”

The FCA warned that some cost increases on firms will pass through to consumers in the form of higher prices, while senior managers “may demand bigger pay deals”.

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CIA’s China cyberattack analysis contradicts security firms

A senior CIA analyst said China is continuing to conduct aggressive cyberespionage operations against the U.S., contrary to claims by security experts who say Beijing curbed cyberattacks in the past few years.

“We know the Chinese are very active in targeting our government, U.S. industry and those of our partners through cyberespionage,” said Michael Collins, deputy assistant CIA director and head of the agency’s East Asia Mission Center.

“It’s a very real, big problem, and we need to do more about it,” Mr. Collins told a recent security conference in Aspen, Colorado.

Mr. Collins said solving the problem of Chinese cyberattacks will require an “all-of-government, all-of-country approach to pushing back against it.”

The comments contradict a number of cybersecurity experts who have said Beijing’s digital spying and information theft decreased sharply as a result of the 2015 agreement between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The two leaders announced the cyber deal with great fanfare and said both countries had agreed to curtail cyberespionage against businesses.

Last year, the cybersecurity firm FireEye said in a report that Chinese hacking against U.S. entities had declined by 90 percent over two years.

The most serious cyberattack by China was the theft of some 22 million federal records from the Office of Personnel Management. U.S. intelligence and security officials said the massive breach of OPM records likely produced an intelligence windfall for China’s main hacking unit, the 3rd Department of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff, known as 3PLA.

The OPM hack included sensitive personal information on tens of thousands of federal workers and contractors who have access to classified information.

According to intelligence experts, China is expected to use the stolen OPM data to target officials with access to secrets, along with targeting network administrators throughout government who can be hacked as part of cyberoperations designed to break into sensitive government networks.

SOCOM CHIEF ON BIN LADEN KILLING

The commander of the Special Operations Command who took part in the effort to kill al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden said the death of the terrorist leader was a landmark event but did not end the global war on terrorism.

Speaking at a security forum in Aspen, Colorado, Army Gen. Raymond A. “Tony” Thomas III said he was forward-deployed near Pakistan when Navy SEALs conducted the May 2, 2011, raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, when bin Laden was shot.

“Truthfully, at the time, it seemed incredibly cathartic, and in fact when I think of hearing, you know, the code word ‘Geronimo,’ which is in too many books and movies, I was actually flushed thinking, ‘Man, it’s been a long 10 years. A lot of hard work went into this,’” Gen. Thomas recalled.

Geronimo was the code word used by the commandos to signal that the al Qaeda leader was either killed or captured.

“You know, it seemed like a seminal moment and, truthfully, it’s actually brought home I think the lesson that that was one guy, albeit a pretty powerful and symbolic guy, he’s one guy on top of a network. And if you don’t dismantle the whole network, if you don’t address the ideology, you’ve killed one guy,” he said.

The comments reflect some of the thinking that officials of the Trump administration say will guide counterterrorism operations designed to kill terrorist leaders and to address the radical Islamic ideology that motivates groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

During the Obama administration, political correctness and fears of creating a backlash against Islam prevented effective efforts to target the terrorist ideology. The Trump administration has vowed to do more to attack the Islamists’ ideology as something that ultimately will produce the defeat of terrorist groups.

Gen. Thomas emphasized that the lesson of the long, difficult intelligence and military effort to kill bin Laden didn’t translate into solving the problem of terrorism.

“To me, it was needful it had happened. I think it was good for the country to know that we would relentlessly pursue somebody who had attacked us,” he said. “But the reality is it was just another steppingstone in this kind of epic fight that we’ve been at.”

Addressing the fate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Gen. Thomas said the Islamic State leader remains the iconic head of the terrorist group and is absolutely relevant to the organization.

Despite al-Baghdadi’s silence in recent weeks, the four-star general said he does not believe the Islamic State leader was killed, as Russian reports have stated.

“He’s been an utterly ineffective leader by our assessment, if at all, as opposed to [al Qaeda leader Aymen] Zawahri, who’s still trying to hold on in the al Qaeda time framework,” he said.

“Al-Baghdadi, literally, [we] had not heard peeps from him,” Gen. Thomas said. “No, he’s not quite dead yet. He might be south of Raqqa.”

For U.S. special operations forces, al-Baghdadi remains a high-priority target, and commandos have been close to him in the past.

“The bottom line is we will get him eventually,” Gen. Thomas said. “It’s not safe for him on this earth for what he’s done and what his organization has done, but in the meantime we have absolutely dismantled his network.”

Overall, an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 of al-Baghdadi’s followers have been killed, especially his top aides, he said.

NSA WANTS RENEWED ELECTRONIC SPY AUTHORITY

As part of efforts to persuade Congress to renew the National Security Agency’s foreign electronic spying authority, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats recently revealed how the NSA took down a senior Islamic State leader. Mr. Coats said last week that he asked the NSA to declassify an example of how the agency has been successful in using Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is set to expire this year unless lawmakers act.

Critics of electronic surveillance claim the spying power has been abused to gather intelligence on Americans. Congress is expected to approve new spying authority, but a robust debate and possible changes could be added.

“First of all, understand this is authorized collection against a foreign individual, a foreign target, as we by law cannot target a U.S. person whether they’re in the United States or whether they’re anywhere else in the world,” Mr. Coats said. “This is designed specifically and authorized specifically to go after a foreign target.”

Mr. Coats said the NSA was instrumental in locating a key Islamic State terrorist leader named Haji Imam, the group’s No. 2 leader.

“We had a $7 million bounty out there if someone could give us information as to his whereabouts,” Mr. Coats said. “For two years, NSA diligently, 24/7/365, was trying to find out how we could locate this guy. Finally they did. They located somebody who had a very close relationship with Haji.”

Through electronic means, the NSA located Haji and passed the information on to U.S. special operations commanders.

“We sent a special group out to take out Haji,” Mr. Coats said. “As they were approaching, they started to fire, got into a firefight, we were able to kill Haji, the No. 2 in ISIS, and that’s usually the operational guy. The No. 1 guy’s the propaganda guy, the leader, inspirational leader and so forth. Haji was a key, key person. That’s just one example.”

The imam was killed in early March and was regarded as a key Islamic State operative and finance chief.

The DNI said he had the incident declassified to better inform Congress and the public on the need to renew the Section 702 authority.

Mr. Coats, a former senator and onetime U.S. ambassador to Germany, said some of his former Senate colleagues have claimed falsely that the NSA is listening to all Americans’ cellphone calls.

“Well, there’s some 330 million Americans; that would take 330 million people 24 hours a day listening to whatever time, whenever you picked up your phone call.”

Intelligence officials have said the NSA is working on gathering statistics on how many Americans had their communications inadvertently swept up during the NSA’s overseas spying. However, the task of segregating out data on what the NSA terms “U.S. persons” — both people and companies whose identities by law are masked in communications interceptors — has been difficult because of the large amount of data gathered by the electronic spy service.

Contact Bill Gertz on Twitter via @BillGertz.

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71 Firms Bid For Deep Seaport, Superhighway Projects

Following the recent EIA approvals by the Federal Ministry of Environment for the Cross River State signature project, the Superhighway and the Bakassi deep seaport, over 71 companies are bidding to handle the projects.
Governor Ben Ayade, disclosed this shortly on his arrival from Abuja, at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar.
His words, “the superhighway and deep seaport projects are in good progress. Only yesterday, there was a major opening of the bid and about 71 different companies bided. We are using this opportunity to call on EFCC, ICPC, NGOs and other organizations to please come and watch the bid evaluation process which will take about 10 days.”
Governor Ayade maintained that, the essence of inviting the anti-graft agencies was “to demonstrate the transparency in the process of arriving at a preferred bidder commencing works under our proposed deep seaport and superhighway.”
The Governor further added, “it is critical that we show transparency because we have very massive bids and very big international companies will be participating in the bids.”
On the funding of the projects, Ayade intimated, “as we speak, nobody or organization so far has put a dime on the project except those that have put direct technical services. We have no cash anywhere but we have the idea, intellect, knowledge and we know where to go and the investors that have the appetite for infrastructure in sub Saharan Africa with emphasis on the gulf of Guinea.”
Reasoning that Cross River will not compromise international best practices in the execution of the projects, Ayade said, “We will stay strictly with the regulations, provisions and tenets of the law, so that we will have a very bumper harvest,” pointing out that “as I put my hand on this and God with us, we shall overcome.”
The governor also hinted that “a team from China will be in the state for some months, going from one local government area to another in order to do solid mineral mapping of Cross River, tell us in each local government what mineral economic value we have in deposit and giving us the coordinates.”
On the recent peace in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the country after the Supreme Court ruling, Ayade said, it was  a healthy development for the people of Nigeria and indeed Africa.
“Nigeria is the leading light and our democracy must also demonstrate that we are the leading light in all aspects. I think that PDP has a great opportunity to put our house together and work as a team and a solid party,” the governor stressed.
Continuing, Ayade prayed for President Buhari to return healthy and continue his good works, while  appreciating the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, for holding strong for the President to come back.
He applauded former President Good luck Jonathan “for demonstrating maturity, education, finesse and proper conduct by ceding power.”

From Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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Tech firms criticize Trump’s call for a transgender military ban

Some of the technology industry’s most prominent companies and leaders called for inclusion after President Trump proposed barring transgender people from the U.S. military.

Following a series of Wednesday morning tweets from Trump that said allowing transgender people to serve would result in “tremendous medical costs and disruption,” Apple, Google, Uber, Facebook and Twitter and their leaders voiced their support for transgender members of the military — but were careful not to mention Trump by name. Their statements were general calls to action, some using the hashtag #LetThemServe.

“Everyone should be able to serve their country — no matter who they are,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his profile.

“We are indebted to all who serve. Discrimination against anyone holds everyone back,” Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted.

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Ovation Corporate Travel Releases Quarterly Business Travel, Financial Services Firm Travel and Law Firm Travel Indexes Providing 3 Years of Benchmarking Data/Analysis

Ovation Corporate Travel Releases Quarterly Business Travel, Financial Services Firm Travel and Law Firm Travel Indexes Providing 3 Years of Benchmarking Data/Analysis

New York, NY, Jul 26, 2017 (PRWeb.com via COMTEX) —

Ovation Corporate Travel, the 5th largest travel management agency in the U.S. by volume, according to Business Travel News, has published its Quarterly Business Travel, Financial Services Firm Travel and Law Firm Travel Indexes. Among other air and hotel indicators, the Indexes show that despite a charged political atmosphere and much attention being paid to international traveler security requirements and restrictions (for example, the recent travel and laptop bans affecting international travelers to the U.S.) the percentage of international travel, across various industries, increased quarter-over-quarter in Q2 2017 for Ovation clients.

Click here to download Ovation’s Q2 2017 Business Travel Indexes.

The indexes contain three years of data findings, listed quarterly with accompanying historic analysis dating back to 2009. Each index illustrates the following statistics:
Average airfare price paid Domestically, Internationally and Overall
Average hotel rate paid Domestically, Internationally and Overall
Percentage breakdown of Economy, Business Class and First Class tickets
Percentage breakdown of Domestic and International tickets

Ovation utilizes this high-level analysis to identify trends and to benchmark individual client activity against a ‘yardstick’ representing over $230 million in annual air and hotel spend. The data serves as a resource in determining opportunities for strengthening clients’ travel programs in such areas as travel policy adjustment, service enhancements and supplier negotiations.

“In Q2 2017 we saw the average prices paid for both domestic and international flights remain relatively steady across all three Indexes,” noted Executive Vice President, Michael Steiner. “Probably more interesting than steady prices, is the fact that the percentage of international travel ticked up this past quarter. This increase in international travel is especially interesting right now in light of current U.S. travel and security policies.”

Ovation services over 700 clients, including over 225 financial services firm clients and over 200 law firms through its law firm-focused subsidiary, Lawyers Travel; data for these indexes was culled from a cross-industry-sample of clients within each of these areas.

To download Ovation’s Q2 2017 Business Travel Indexes click here.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/07/prweb14542938.htm


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No one can stop firms from moving HCs: RBI dep governor on insolvency cases

With some large stressed firms challenging RBI’s directives to banks to initiate proceedings against them under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in high courts, Reserve Bank deputy governor SS Mundra today said nobody can be prevented from approaching the judiciary.

Last week, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed Essar Steel’s plea against RBI to start insolvency proceedings against it.


The court refused to grant any relief to the steel major on proceedings initiated against it by the State Bank of India and Standard Chartered Bank at National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the IBC, indicating that all issues raised by the company should be considered by the NCLT.

“Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and approaching the higher judiciary is open to everyone,” Mundra told reporters on the sidelines of a Canara Bank function.

“If an individual company chooses to use that route, I don’t think that can be prevented, but I am sure that in any judicial system past pronouncements create a kind of future direction and that direction has now become evidently clear,” he said.

Essar Steel had moved the high court seeking the court’s direction to quash and set aside RBI’s direction to the banks to initiate insolvency proceedings against the company through a release dated June 13.

The RBI had last month identified 12 accounts (companies) for insolvency proceedings with each of them having over Rs 5,000 crore of outstanding loans, accounting for 25 per cent of the total NPAs of banks.

The steel company’s debt has increased to over Rs 42,000 crore.

Essar’s contention was that this directive was unfair as it was in an advanced stages of restructuring its loans.

The Gujarat High Court had also rapped the RBI for its statement in which it had said that the NCLT will take up on priority basis the insolvency proceedings against

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Insolvency cases: RBI deputy governor SS Mundra says firms free to move higher courts

Insolvency case RBI, SS mundra, ss mundra rbi deputy governor, ss mundra news, SS Mundra high court, RBI high court, Rbi, Judicial System India, NCLT, Gujrat high court on Rbi, Gujrat High court on SS Mundra Last week, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed Essar Steel’s plea against RBI to start insolvency proceedings against it. (Image: IE)

With some large stressed firms challenging RBI’s directives to banks to initiate proceedings against them under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in high courts, Reserve Bank deputy governor SS Mundra today said nobody can be prevented from approaching the judiciary.  Last week, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed Essar Steel’s plea against RBI to start insolvency proceedings against it.
The court refused to grant any relief to the steel major on proceedings initiated against it by the State Bank of India and Standard Chartered Bank at National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the IBC, indicating that all issues raised by the company should be considered by the NCLT. “Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and approaching the higher judiciary is open to everyone,” Mundra told reporters on the sidelines of a Canara Bank function.

“If an individual company chooses to use that route, I don’t think that can be prevented, but I am sure that in any judicial system past pronouncements create a kind of future direction and that direction has now become evidently clear,” he said. Essar Steel had moved the high court seeking the court’s direction to quash and set aside RBI’s direction to the banks to initiate insolvency proceedings against the company through a release dated June 13. The RBI had last month identified 12 accounts (companies) for insolvency proceedings with each of them having over Rs 5,000 crore of outstanding loans, accounting for 25 per cent of the total NPAs of banks. The steel company’s debt has increased to over Rs 42,000 crore.

Essar’s contention was that this directive was unfair as it was in advanced stages of restructuring its loans. The Gujarat High Court had also rapped the RBI for its statement in which it had said that the NCLT will take up on a priority basis the insolvency proceedings against companies having high debt. “The RBI has to be careful while issuing press releases, it must be in consonance with the Constitutional mandate, based on sound principles of law, but in any case should not be in the form of advice, guidelines or directions to judicial or quasi-judicial authorities in any manner what so ever,” the court had said in its order.

Mundra said it was an unintended interpretation (on the part of RBI) and that the Reserve Bank has done the required modification.
“I don’t think RBI had ever intended to direct the judiciary as to what should be their priority,” he said. He also said that RBI is looking at the provisioning norms for the cases that have been or will be referred to IBC for resolution. “That’s something where the mind is being applied now and as you see in this entire process, RBI’s been doing timely communication, so wait for that,” Mundra said. The RBI has asked banks to make a provision of up to 50 per cent for the accounts for which insolvency proceedings have been initiated and make 100 percent for those face liquidation.

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Firms free to move judiciary over RBI’s insolvency directive: S S Mundra

Essar Steel had moved high court seeking its direction to quash RBI’s direction to banks to initiate insolvency proceedings.

Mumbai: With some large stressed firms challenging RBI’s directives to banks to initiate proceedings against them under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in high courts, Reserve Bank deputy governor SS Mundra on Wednesday said nobody can be prevented from approaching the judiciary.

Last week, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed Essar Steel’s plea against RBI to start insolvency proceedings against it.

The court refused to grant any relief to the steel major on proceedings initiated against it by the State Bank of India and Standard Chartered Bank at National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the IBC, indicating that all issues raised by the company should be considered by the NCLT.

“Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and approaching the higher judiciary is open to everyone,” Mundra told reporters on the sidelines of a Canara Bank function.

“If an individual company chooses to use that route, I don’t think that can be prevented, but I am sure that in any judicial system past pronouncements create a kind of future direction and that direction has now become evidently clear,” he said.

Essar Steel had moved the high court seeking the court’s direction to quash and set aside RBI’s direction to the banks to initiate insolvency proceedings against the company through a release dated June 13.

The RBI had last month identified 12 accounts (companies) for insolvency proceedings with each of them having over Rs 5,000 crore of outstanding loans, accounting for 25 per cent of the total NPAs of banks.

The steel company’s debt has increased to over Rs 42,000 crore. Essar’s contention was that this directive was unfair as it was in an advanced stages of restructuring its loans.

The Gujarat High Court had also rapped the RBI for its statement in which it had said that the NCLT will take up on priority basis the insolvency proceedings against companies having high debt.

“The RBI has to be careful while issuing press releases, it must be in consonance with the Constitutional mandate, based on sound principles of law, but in any case should not be in the form of advice, guidelines or directions to judicial or quasi-judicial authorities in any manner what so ever,” the court had said in its order.

Mundra said it was an unintended interpretation (on the part of RBI) and that the Reserve Bank has done the required modification.

“I don’t think RBI had ever intended to direct the judiciary as to what should be their priority,” he said. He also said that RBI is looking at the provisioning norms for the cases that have been or will be referred to IBC for resolution.

“That’s something where the mind is being applied now and as you see in this entire process, RBI’s been doing timely communication, so wait for that,” Mundra said.

The RBI has asked banks to make a provision of up to 50 per cent for the accounts for which insolvency proceedings have been initiated and make 100 percent for those face liquidation.

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Insolvency cases: RBI’s Mundra says firms free to move higher courts

Mumbai: With some large stressed firms challenging the Reserve bank of India’s (RBI) directives to banks to initiate proceedings against them under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in high courts, RBI deputy governor SS Mundra on Thursday said nobody can be prevented from approaching the judiciary.

Last week, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed Essar Steel’s plea against RBI to start insolvency proceedings against it. The court refused to grant any relief to the steel major on proceedings initiated against it by the State Bank of India and Standard Chartered Bank at National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the IBC, indicating that all issues raised by the company should be considered by the NCLT.

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“Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and approaching the higher judiciary is open to everyone,” Mundra told reporters on the sidelines of a Canara Bank function. “If an individual company chooses to use that route, I don’t think that can be prevented, but I am sure that in any judicial system past pronouncements create a kind of future direction and that direction has now become evidently clear,” he said.

Essar Steel had moved the high court seeking the court’s direction to quash and set aside RBI’s direction to the banks to initiate insolvency proceedings against the company through a release dated 13 June. The RBI had last month identified 12 accounts (companies) for insolvency proceedings with each of them having over Rs5,000 crore of outstanding loans, accounting for 25% of the total non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks.

The steel company’s debt has increased to over Rs42,000 crore. Essar’s contention was that this directive was unfair as it was in an advanced stage of restructuring its loans. The Gujarat High Court had also rapped the RBI for its statement in which it had said that the NCLT will take up on a priority basis the insolvency proceedings against companies having high debt.

“The RBI has to be careful while issuing press releases, it must be in consonance with the Constitutional mandate, based on sound principles of law, but in any case should not be in the form of advice, guidelines or directions to judicial or quasi-judicial authorities in any manner what so ever,” the court had said in its order.

Mundra said it was an unintended interpretation (on the part of RBI) and that the Reserve Bank has done the required modification. “I don’t think RBI had ever intended to direct the judiciary as to what should be their priority,” he said. He also said that RBI is looking at the provisioning norms for the cases that have been or will be referred to IBC for resolution.

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“That’s something where the mind is being applied now and as you see in this entire process, RBI’s been doing timely communication, so wait for that,” Mundra said. The RBI has asked banks to make a provision of up to 50% for the accounts for which insolvency proceedings have been initiated and make 100% for those face liquidation.

First Published: Wed, Jul 26 2017. 05 09 PM IST

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