The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal on Friday asked fast food chain McDonald’s India and its estranged franchisee Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt Ltd to settle their case among themselves, PTI reported. The tribunal also asked McDonald’s India and CRPL to keep running the 169 restaurants in North and East India until the settlement talks are underway.

The two parties on August 21 had terminated their agreement. The court has put the matter for next hearing on August 30 by when the parties will have to decide whether they wish to settle the dispute or not.

CRPL Managing Director Vikram Bakshi was also asked to give an undertaking that he would not pursue a criminal cases against the executives of McDonald’s India. Bakshi, however, said his demand for a “fair settlement” continues. “The laws of this country need to be respected and not trivialised by anyone who is bound by them,” Bakshi told PTI. “So why fear them if one is not guilty of violating them?”

The joint venture between McDonald’s and CRPL first hit a roadblock when Bakshi was ousted in 2013 after McDonald’s voted against his re-election. Bakshi challenged his removal in the National Company Law Tribunal, and was reinstated as the managing director in July.