178. Priority of payment of debts.-
(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any law enacted by the Parliament or the State Legislature for the time being in force, in the distribution of the final dividend, the following debts shall be paid in priority to all other debts-
(a) firstly, the costs and expenses incurred by the bankruptcy trustee for the bankruptcy process in full;
(i) the workmen's dues for the period of twenty-four months preceding the bankruptcy commencement date; and
(ii) debts owed to secured creditors;
(c) thirdly, wages and any unpaid dues owed to employees, other than workmen, of the bankrupt for the period of twelve months preceding the bankruptcy commencement date;
(d) fourthly, any amount due to the Central Government and the State Government including the amount to be received on account of Consolidated Fund of India and the Consolidated Fund of a State, if any, in respect of the whole or any part of the period of two years preceding the bankruptcy commencement date;
(e) lastly, all other debts and dues owed by the bankrupt including unsecured debts.
(2) The debts in each class specified in sub-section (1) shall rank in the order mentioned in that sub-section but debts of the same class shall rank equally amongst themselves, and shall be paid in full, unless the estate of the bankrupt is insufficient to meet them, in which case they shall abate in equal proportions between themselves.
(3) Where any creditor has given any indemnity or has made any payment of moneys by virtue of which any asset of the bankrupt has been recovered, protected or preserved, the Adjudicating Authority may make such order as it thinks just with respect to the distribution of such asset with a view to giving that creditor an advantage over other creditors in consideration of the risks taken by him in so doing.
(4) Unsecured creditors shall rank equally amongst themselves unless contractually agreed to the contrary by such creditors.
(5) Any surplus remaining after the payment of the debts under sub-section (1) shall be applied in paying interest on those debts in respect of the periods during which they have been outstanding since the bankruptcy commencement date.
(6) Interest payments under sub-section (5) shall rank equally irrespective of the nature of the debt.
(7) In the case of partners, the partnership property shall be applicable in the first instance in payment of the partnership debts and the separate property of each partner shall be applicable in the first instance in payment of his separate debts.
(8) Where there is a surplus of the separate property of the partners, it shall be dealt with as part of the partnership property; and where there is a surplus of the partnership property, it shall be dealt with as part of the respective separate property in proportion to the rights and interests of each partner in the partnership property.