The Supreme Court today asked Tata Group patriarch, Ratan Tata and industrialist Nusli Wadia to sort out their differences and settle the defamation case filed by the latter in 2016.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant, said that the court was not aware of the reason behind the allegations and asked both the parties to talk and settle. The court insisted that the suggestion is a view, as it is 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.”, CJI Bobde asked during the proceedings.
Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Ratan Tata submitted before the court that the defamation case was a result of a fallout in a corporate dispute.
Nusli Wadia had filed a criminal defamation case against Ratan Tata and 11 of his board members and executives, 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, libellous 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 then moved the High Court, where the court quashed and set aside the proceedings in July last year.
Wadia then approached the Supreme Court in appeal. The next hearing of the case will be on January 13, 2020.