SEC. 58. Notices to Creditors, (a) Creditors shall have at least ten days' notice by mail, to their respective addresses as they appear in the list of creditors of the bankrupt, or as afterwards filed with the papers in the case by the creditors, unless they waive notice in writing, of (1) all examinations of the bankrupt; (2) all hearings upon applications for the confirmation of compositions; (3) all meetings of creditors; (4) all proposed sales of property; (5) the declaration and time of payment of dividends; (6) the filing of the final accounts of the trustee, and the time when and the place where they will be examined and passed upon; (7) the proposed compromise of any controversy; (8) the proposed dismissal of the proceedings, and (9) there shall be thirty days' notice of all applications for the discharge of bankrupts.
b. Notice to creditors of the first meeting shall be published at least once and may be published such number of additional times as the court may direct; the last publication shall be at least one week prior to the date fixed for the meeting. Other notices may be published as the court shall direct.
c All notices shall be given by the referee, unless otherwise ordered by the judge.
SEC. 59. Who May File and Dismiss Petition. - a. Any qualified person may file a petition to be adjudged a voluntary bankrupt.
b. Three or more creditors who have provable claims against any person which amount in the aggregate, in excess of the value of securities held by them, if any, to five hundred dollars or over; or if all of the creditors of such person are less than twelve in number, then one of such creditors whose claim equals such amount may file a petition to have him adjudged a bankrupt.
c. Petitions shall be filed in duplicate, one copy for the clerk and one for service on the bankrupt.
d. If it be averred in the petition that the creditors of the bankrupt are less than twelve in number, and less than three creditors have joined as petitioners therein, and the answer avers the existence of a larger number of creditors, there shall be filed with the answers a list under oath of all the creditors, with their addresses, and thereupon the court shall cause all such creditors to be notified of the pendency of such petition and shall delay the hearing upon such petition for a reasonable time, to the end that parties in interest shall have an opportunity to be heard; if upon such hearing it shall appear that a sufficient number have joined in such petition, or if prior to or during such hearing a sufficient number shall join therein, the case may be proceeded with, but otherwise it shall be dismissed.
e. In computing the number of creditors of a bankrupt for the purpose of determining how many creditors must join in the petition, such creditors as were employed by him at the time of the filing of the petition or are related to him by consanguinity or affinity within the third degree, as determined by the common law, and have not joined in the petition, shall not be counted.
f. Creditors other than original petitioners may at any time enter their appearance and join in the petition, or file an answer and be heard in opposition to the prayer of the petition.
g. A voluntary or involuntary petition shall not be dismissed by the petitioner or petitioners or for want of prosecution or by consent of parties until after notice to the creditors, and to that end the court shall, before entertaining an application for dismissal, require the bankrupt to file a list, under oath, of all his creditors, with their addresses, and shall cause notice, to be sent to all such creditors of the pendency of such application, and shall delay the hearing thereon for a reasonable time to allow all creditors and parties in interest opportunity to be heard.
SEC. 60. Preferred Creditors. - a. A person shall be deemed to have given a preference if, being insolvent, he has, within four months before the filing of the petition, or after the filing of the petition and before the adjudication, procured or suffered a judgment to be entered against himself in favor of any person, or made a transfer of any of his property, and the effect of the enforcement of such judgment or transfer will be to enable any one of his creditors to obtain a greater percentage of his debt than any other of such creditors of the same class. Where the preference consists in a transfer, such period of four months shall not expire until four months after the date of the recording or registering of the transfer, if by law such recording or registering is required.
b. If a bankrupt shall have procured or suffered a judgment to be entered against him in favor of any person or have made a transfer of any of his property, and if, at the time of the transfer, or of the entry of the judgment, or of the recording or registering of the transfer if by law recording or registering thereof is required, and being within four months before the filing of the petition in bankruptcy or after the filing thereof and before the adjudication, the bankrupt be insolvent and the judgment or transfer then operate as a preference, and the person receiving it or to be benefited thereby, or his agent acting therein shall then have reasonable cause to believe that the enforcement of such judgment or transfer would effect a preference, it shall be voidable by the trustee and he may recover the property or its value from such person. And for the purpose of such recovery any court of bankruptcy, as hereinbefore defined, and any state court which would have had jurisdiction if bankruptcy had not intervened, shall have concurrent jurisdiction.
c. If a creditor has been preferred, and afterwards in good faith gives the debtor further credit without security of any kind for property which becomes a part of the debtor's estates, the amount of such new credit remaining unpaid at the time of the adjudication in bankruptcy may be set off against the amount which would otherwise be recoverable from him.
d. If a debtor shall, directly or indirectly, in contemplation of the filing of a petition by or against him, pay money or transfer property to an attorney and counselor at law, solicitor in equity, or proctor in admiralty for services to be rendered, the transaction shall be re-examined by the court on petition of the trustee or any creditor and shall only be held valid to the extent of a reasonable amount to be determined by the court, and the excess may be recovered by the trustee for the benefit of the estate.