After advising the Tata Group patriarch Ratan Tata and industrialist Nusli Wadia to sort out their differences and settle the defamation case filed by the latter seeking Rs 3,000 crore in damages, the Supreme Court will hear the case tomorrow.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant had last week asked both the parties to talk and settle the matter insisting that the suggestion was a view, not a decision on law in this matter.
“You both are leaders in the industry … why don’t you talk and resolve the issue? In this day and age do parties of such repute need to pursue litigation like this?” Chief Justice Bobde asked.
He had backed Cyrus Mistry over his ouster from Tata Sons in October 2016.
Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Ratan Tata, told the court that the defamation case was a result of a fall-out in a corporate dispute.
Nusli Wadia had filed a criminal defamation case against Ratan Tata and 11 of his board members and executives in 2016, after Wadia was removed from the boards of Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals.
Wadia had claimed that Ratan Tata defamed him “by printing, publishing and circulating per se false, frivolous, baseless, incorrect, libelous and defamatory material concerning the complainant”.
Tata had alleged that Wadia was acting in concert with former Chairman of the Tata Group Cyrus Mistry, against the interests of the company. Further, they had alleged that Wadia had not been conducting himself independently, and that his actions put the future of Tata Steel Limited in jeopardy.
In December 2018, a magistrate court in Mumbai had issued notices to Ratan Tata and the others in the case filed by Wadia. Tata Sons and others moved the Bombay High Court, which quashed and set aside the proceedings in July last year.
Wadia then approached the Supreme Court.