The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal that reinstated Cyrus Mistry as the executive chairman of the Tata group, reported Bar and Bench. A week ago, both Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, and industrialist Ratan Tata had moved the Supreme Court – the latter in his personal capacity – against Mistry’s reinstatement. The petitions had sought to set aside the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s December 18 order reinstating Mistry.
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde observed that the tribunal’s decision to restore Mistry as the chairman of Tata Sons may be an “adjudication error” which permeates the whole order, reported NDTV. The bench of Bobde, and Justices Surya Kant and BR Gavai also issued notices to Mistry and others.
In its December 18 order, the NCLAT had held as illegal the appointment of N Chandrasekaran as Mistry’s successor. It had also said the conversion of Tata Sons from a public to private company was illegal.
In its petition, Tata Sons argued that the tribunal “holds the appellant [Ratan Tata] guilty of having taken oppressive and prejudicial steps against the interest of the shareholders of Tata Sons”. The petition alleged that the tribunal held him guilty without “any factual or legal foundation”.
“The findings of the appellate tribunal are wrong, erroneous, contrary to the record of the case and require consideration by this court [Supreme Court],” the petition said. “The impugned judgement is also infirm because it blatantly indulges in propagating a selective narrative where relevant facts and record have been glossed over, submissions made by the appellant and other respondents have been ignored and if noticed then are not been dealt with in the impugned judgement.”
Businessman Mistry, however, has said he did not wish to return as the executive chairperson of Tata Sons or the director of three group companies. “I am humbled by the NCLAT order, which after review of the enormous material on record, recognised the illegal manner in which I was removed and the oppressive and prejudicial conduct of Mr [Ratan] Tata and other trustees,” Mistry had said in a statement on January 5. “I intend to make it clear that despite the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal order in my favour, I will not be pursuing the executive chairmanship of Tata Sons, or directorship of TCS, Tata Teleservices or Tata Industries.”
Mistry, who is from the Shapoorji Pallonji family, took over from Ratan Tata in 2012 as the sixth chairperson of Tata Sons. However, he had differences with his predecessor and they reportedly fell out over key investment decisions. Mistry stepped down from all Tata Group companies in December 2016, two months after being sacked as chairperson. He accused Ratan Tata of staging “an illegal coup” while the Tatas alleged Mistry misled the 2011 selection committee set up to appoint Ratan Tata’s successor.