Cyrus Mistry Coun­sel’s Re­fusal to Ar­gue Case Dis­obe­di­ence: NCLT

Tri­bunal ad­journs hear­ing on Mistry plea against Tatas for two weeks

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Our Bureau

Mum­bai: The Na­tional Com­pany Law Tri­bunal (NCLT) ad­journed the hear­ing of the pe­ti­tion filed by Cyrus Mistry’s fam­ily firms against Tata Sons for two weeks at the re­quest of his coun­sel C Aryama Sun­daram, who re­fused to ar­gue the case on Tues­day. The two-mem­ber bench com­pris­ing BSV Prakash Ku­mar and V Nal­lase­na­p­a­thy said the re­fusal to ar­gue the main pe­ti­tion was noth­ing but dis­obe­di­ence of the court. The fam­ily firms are seek­ing a stay on an ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eral meet­ing (EGM) called by Tata Sons on Fe­bru­ary 6 to con­sider re­mov­ing Mistry from the board and al­lege op­pres­sion of mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers and mis­man­age­ment at the com­pany.

The judges called for the next hear­ing on Fe­bru­ary 13 and 14 for ar­gu­ments against Tata Sons’ al­leged op­pres­sion of mi­nor­ity in­ter­ests and will hear counter-ar­gu­ments by Tata Sons coun­sel on Fe­bru­ary 20 and 21. “The roadmap of the hear­ing was al­ready laid out on De­cem­ber 22, 2016, and Jan­uary 18, 2017. There was time in be­tween but the pe­ti­tioner had not ap­pealed on any or­der. It was ob­vi­ous that mat­ters had been dealt with. There­fore the ar­gu­ment is un­mer­i­to­ri­ous. Hope that the pe­ti­tioner (Mistry firms) will ar­gue af­ter two weeks, fail­ing which the pe­ti­tion will stand dis­missed,” Jus­tice Ku­mar said. Sun­daram wanted the judges to pass an or­der on the Tata Sons EGM and clear its po­si­tion on the main­tain­abil­ity of the case be­fore start­ing his ar­gu­ments on the main pe­ti­tion so that he could ap­peal against any ad­verse de­ci­sion. Mistry’s

fam­ily firms are now ex­pected to move the Na­tional Com­pany Law Ap­pel­late Tri­bunal to stall the EGM. “We were very par­tic­u­lar that an or­der should be passed on it ei­ther way rather than keep it pend­ing, oth­er­wise Fe­bru­ary 6th will come

and go,” Sun­daram told the press af­ter the hear­ing. “Now, we may want to take other reme­dies against the or­der and that is why we asked for an ad­journ­ment. To­day, the bench in­di­cated that the in­terim ap­pli­ca­tion (against hold­ing the EGM) was re­fused and re­jected.”

“What Mistry is do­ing is fo­rum shop­ping and he does not want to ar­gue af­ter the court has fixed a date by con­sent of both the par­ties,” said a lawyer in­volved in the case. “Dis­obe­di­ence comes un­der the con­tempt of court act.”

In Jan­uary, Mistry’s com­pa­nies had moved the NCLT al­leg­ing con­tempt of court by Tata Sons, con­tend­ing that the com­pany had vi­o­lated the court’s di­rec­tives by ini­ti­at­ing pro­ce­dures to re­move Mistry from the board.

Mistry’s fam­ily firms, which hold 18.4% of Tata Sons, first moved the NCLT in De­cem­ber against the Tata Sons board, its di­rec­tors in­clud­ing in­terim chair­man Ratan Tata and two of the Tata Trusts and its trustees for “op­press­ing” mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers and “mis­man­age­ment.”

Mistry was re­moved as chair­man of Tata Sons on Oc­to­ber 24 af­ter the board said it lost con­fi­dence in him.

Tata Sons’ coun­sel Ab­hishek Manu Singhvi termed the ap­proach of Mistry’s fam­ily firms on Tues­day as an at­tempt to am­bush the pro­ceed­ings and an un­fair tac­tic.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.