Friday, March 31, 2023

Tata-Mistry case: Supreme Court agrees to hear Mistry plea against 2021 verdict

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The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a review petition filed by former Chairman of Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry, against the apex court’s March 2021 judgment that ruled in the favour of Tata Sons on March 9.

The top court of the country had set aside the ruling of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) of December 2019, which had re-instated Mistry on the Tata Sons board and had termed the appointment of the current chairman N. Chandrasekaran as ‘illegal’.

A Bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice A.S. Bopanna on Monday decided to list the matter for March 9.

Senior Counsel Abhishek Singhvi, representing Tata Sons, said that they have received information that the review petition has been kept for oral hearing.

“It is totally wrong to say, as has been suggested in some sections, that the review petition has been either admitted or allowed. Nothing of that sort has happened. The court on 9th March would only have an oral hearing to consider what further should be done in the review petition,”

-said Singhvi.

In April 2021, Cyrus Mistry petitioned the Supreme Court for a review of its March 26, 2021, which had upheld Tata Son’s decision to oust him as chairman.

In a judgment last year, the Supreme Court had backed Mistry’s removal, setting aside the December 2019 ruling of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) that had directed the reinstatement of Cyrus Mistry as Tata Sons chairperson.

The court dismissed the claims of Cyrus Investments and Sterling Investments, two investment firms belonging to the Mistry family, that Mistry’s ouster was an act of oppression on minorities.

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The judges had stated, “It is too well-settled that unsuccessful business decisions and the removal of a person from Directorship can never be projected as acts oppressive or adverse to the interests of minorities.” The court also stated that both parties can pursue legal action in the case of a share dispute.

The matter goes back to Cyrus Mistry sacking as the chairman of Tata Sons in October 2016.

In December 2016, Cyrus Investments and Sterling Investments had moved the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLT), alleging oppression of minority shareholders and mismanagement by Tata Sons. They also challenged Mistry’s removal.
The NCLT supported Mistry’s removal as Executive Chairman and Director in a 2017 ruling, stating that simply because Tata Sons’ board of directors held a board meeting on short notice or put the item agenda (removing Mistry from his top position) at the last minute, it could not be called a fraud.
In December 2019, the NCLAT had reinstated Cyrus Pallonji Mistry to the position of Executive Chairman of Tata Sons and Director of the Tata Group of companies for the remainder of his tenure.

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