On the fourth day of hearing in the cross-appeals filed by Tata Sons and Cyrus Investments against the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order reinstating Cyrus Misty as Chairman of Tata Sons, Senior Counsel C. Aryama Sundaram, appearing for Cyrus Investments and Sterling Investments, resumed his submissions on just and equitable winding up of the company.
While Sundaram was giving reference of 5 important cases on just and equitable winding up, Chief Justice S.A. Bobde intervene,
“Over the weekend, I discovered that my son has been for two years appearing for one of the subsidiaries of Pallonji Group in a slum rehabilitation case and if any party objects to my hearing the case can do so now.”
On being asked by the parties to submit their objection, Senior Counsel Harish Salve said he was also a part of the case and had no objection to CJI hearing the case. Other parties similarly clarified that they had no objection.
Resuming his submissions on just and equitable winding up of a company, Sundaram submitted that continuation of operations of this kind by a company should be considered as just and equitable case for winding up of the company and put an end to such operations.
Sundaram then made submissions on the misuse of Article 121 and 121A against the minority shareholders and Mistry. He further submitted, “Even for taking decisions for the group companies they used interpretation of Article 121 as power of pre-consultation.”
Sundaram, thereafter, submitted that Ratan Tata had personal interest in Ola. The CJI then queried whether the submissions made by Sundaram was true to which Sundaram replied that the submissions were not objected in the pleadings and the deal was with Uber but Tata wanted the deal to be with Ola.
Senior Counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Tata Sons, however, submitted that Ratan Tata wanted to maximize the use of Tata Taxis in both Uber and Ola because these are the only two platforms offering such services. He had a very insignificant share in Ola, which was being used by Sundaram to conclude that he had a personal interest in Ola.
The CJI then asked Sundaram to consider the fact that Tata Sons was a family constituted company and it is often seen that in companies like this when a member of the family is made the head, it is like a family and often the person asks for information.
Sundaram, however, was not in agreement with the CJI and said,
“My lord is talking about family but one should remember that a family talks about inclusions and not exclusions. As a shareholder, my value is eroding and I don’t want that to happen. The problem is not asking for information, the problem comes when you say that under the articles you have an absolute right.”
The bench has adjourned the matter for next hearing tomorrow.212_2020_31_27_25078_Order_14-Dec-2020