SC stays NCLAT order reinstating Cyrus Mistry as Chairman of Tata Group
New Delhi, January 10, 2020
After intense arguments, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed the NCLAT order reinstating Cyrus Mistry as Executive Chairman of the Tata Group, saying "the tribunal granted a prayer which was never made".
A bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde and comprising Justices B. R. Gavai and Surya Kant said the NCLAT seemed to have committed a basic error in adjudicating the matter, as there was no prayer made for reinstatement of Mistry.
"Our first impression of the NCLAT judgement is not very good. The decision suffers from basic error, and we will hear the matter in detail," said the Chief Justice.
The apex court observed that the tribunal has no powers to pass such a direction.
Tata Sons, the holding company that deals with business from salt to software consultancy, moved the apex court challenging the reinstatement of Mistry.
The December 18 NCLAT judgement against the Tata Group had come down with a heavy hand at the prejudicial and oppressive manner in which the majority mindset of Tata Sons operated against the minority (Shapoorji Pallonji Group) and public shareholders of Tata Sons and Tata Group, respectively.
The apex court observed, "You (Cyrus) have been out of the saddle for a long time...how does it hurt you today."
Tatas were represented through senior advocates A. M. Singhvi, Harish Salve, Mukul Rohatgi and Mohan Parasaran.
A heated argument broke out on the court's remark on the stay of the tribunal judgement.
Senior advocate C. A. Sundaram, representing the company Cyrus Investment Pvt Ltd, contended instead of staying the tribunal judgement, the court could order status quo; and a notice could be issued with two weeks to file reply.
Mistry's side also wanted to place a note apparently on an interim arrangement. It was not accepted by the court.
Senior advocate N. K. Kaul represented Mistry and senior advocate Shyam Divan represented the shareholders on Mistry's side. Mistry's side also said, "We have been sidelined completely."
Sundaram contended before the bench he was not pressing on relief in connection with the reinstatement, instead he was against the wrong process adopted to remove Mistry.
Tata Sons Private Ltd (TSPL) challenged the December 18 decision of NCLAT which ruled in Mistry's favour by reinstating him as the Executive Chairman of TSPL.
The apex court has posted the matter after four weeks.