Calcutta HC dismisses Glocal Healthcare’s pleas seeking to submit affidavits of assets in ‘sealed cover’

Kolkata, May 22,2024:  The Calcutta High Court has dismissed a bunch of petitions filed by Glocal Healthcare Systems and its shareholders, including former SEBI Chairman M. Damodaran, seeking to submit affidavits of assets in ‘sealed cover’ in a case filed against them by UpHealth Holdings Inc of the US.

The order passed recently by the single-judge bench of Justice Ravi Krishan Kapur dismissed Glocal Healthcare Systems’ pleas seeking confidentiality, ruling that the required information must not be submitted in a sealed envelope. Instead, the court granted UpHealth’s counsel immediate access to review the affidavits in the court.

Justice Kapur also directed Glocal Healthcare and its shareholders to file the affidavits related to their detailed list of assets, liabilities, and litigations filed against them before the court within the next two weeks.

To recall, UpHealth Holdings Inc received a Rs 291 crore interim arbitral award in Chicago recently. After that, the US-based entity approached the Calcutta High Court under Section 9 of India’s Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996. Under this Section, interim protection to the applicant is granted after the declaration of the arbitral award that can be enforced under Section 36 of the same act.

“At the outset, the procedure of filing information in sealed covers is contrary to the basic process of justice. It is elementary that in an adversarial proceeding, the opposite party must be allowed to see anything that the court can see. The concept of sealed covers also makes serious inroads into the principle of natural justice and fairness,” the order by Justice Kapur read.

According to the order, if the respondent was in the dark about the financial affairs of the petitioner prior to the filing of the application under Section 9 of the Act, it is now sought to be kept in anxiety and suspense if the filing of sealed covers is permitted.

“There is no element of public interest nor national security involved in these proceedings. The parties are commercial men. The disputes raised between the parties are purely contractual. The underlying interests of both parties are pure and simple money. In such commercial matters, there is no place for confidentiality or privacy, nor sealed covers. Such matters count for little in these cold commercial courts,” the order read.


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