MUMBAI: Tata Sons ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry on Thursday moved a petition at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal to clear his position of maintainability of the case and stall Tata Sons shareholders meeting slated on February 6, which is called to vote out Mistry from the board.
The National Company Law Tribunal judges on Tuesday did not pass an order on Tata Sons shareholder meeting on Feb 6 and clear its position of maintainability of the case before starting his arguments on the main petition, so that he could appeal against any adverse decision.
On Monday NCLT adjourned the hearing of the petition filed by Mistry’s family firms against Tata Sons for two weeks at the request of Mistry’s counsel C Aryama Sundaram, who refused to argue the case on Tuesday.
The two-member bench comprising of B.S.V. Prakash Kumar and V. Nallasenapathy said Mistry firms’ refusal to argue the main petition was nothing but disobedience of the court. The judges called for the next hearing on Feb 13 and 14 for arguments against Tata Sons’ alleged oppression of minority rights. The court will hear the counter arguments by Tata Sons counsel on Feb 20 and 21.
“The roadmap of the hearing was already laid out of Dec 22, 2016 and Jan 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 NCLT judges to pass an order on Tata Sons shareholder meeting on Feb 6 and clear its position of maintainability of the case before starting his arguments on the main petition, so that he could appeal against any adverse decision.
“We were very particular that an order should be passed on it either way rather than keep it pending, otherwise Feb 6th will come and go,” Sundaram told the press on Tuesday 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 Tata Sons shareholder meeting) was refused and rejected.”
Earlier in January Mistry’s companies had moved to NCLT alleging contempt of court by Tata Sons, alleging the company had violated the court’s directives by initiating procedure to remove Mistry from Tata Sons board.
Mistry’s family firms, which hold 18.4% of Tata Sons, first moved to NCLT in December against Tata Sons board, its directors including interim chairman Ratan Tata, two of the Tata Trusts and its trustees for “oppressing” minority shareholders and “mismanagement”. Mistry was removed on Oct 24, after the board said it lost confidence in him.
Tata Sons counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi termed Mistry’s family firms approach on Tuesday as an attempt to ambush the proceedings and an unfair tactic.
“The order records an unheard and unprecedented sequence of events that transpired inside the courtroom for 2.5 hours the petitioners refused to argue the case of merits despite the bench insisted, requested, asked and begged the petitioners,” Singhvi told reporters.