The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s order dismissing the Registrar of Companies’ petition to modify the judgement that reinstated Cyrus Mistry as the executive chairperson of the Tata group, PTI reported.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant also agreed to hear Tata Sons’ appeal, and issued a notice to the parties in the case.
On December 18, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, or NCLAT, had ordered that Mistry be reinstated as the executive chairperson of Tata Sons. The tribunal ruled that the appointment of N Chandrasekaran as Mistry’s successor and the conversion of Tata Sons from a public firm to a private company were illegal.
The Registrar of Companies sought amendments in the judgement “to correctly reflect the conduct of the Registrar of Companies, Mumbai, as not being illegal”. However, a bench of the appellate tribunal headed by Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya on January 3 said the judgement was based on findings and was not against the Registrar of Companies.
On January 10, the Supreme Court said the tribunal’s decision to restore Mistry as the chairperson of Tata Sons may be an “adjudication error” that permeates the whole order. It also said the tribunal’s decision suffers from “basic errors”, and ruled that the matter needs to be heard in detail.
Mistry, who is from the Shapoorji Pallonji family, took over as the sixth chairperson of Tata Sons from Ratan Tata in 2012. However, the two 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 had misled the 2011 selection committee set up to appoint Tata’s successor.
The same month, Mistry and his family-run investment firm Cyrus Investments approached the company tribunal, as minority shareholders, against Tata Sons and 20 people, including Ratan Tata. On February 6, 2017, the shareholders of Tata Sons voted to remove Mistry from the post of director. This came a month after Chandrasekaran was appointed to succeed Mistry.