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SC to hear plea against restoring Mistry as chairman on Friday

SC to hear plea against restoring Mistry as chairman on Friday
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on January 10 the petition by Tata Sons Private Ltd (TSPL) challenging the NCLAT decision restoring Cyrus Mistry as executive chairman of the Tata Group.

The apex court website on Tuesday showed the plea to be listed before a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.

TSPL has challenged the December 18 decision of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) that gave a big relief to Cyrus Investment Pvt Ltd and Mistry, restoring him as the executive chairman of TSPL. The NCLAT also ruled that the appointment of N Chandrasekaran as head of the holding company of the USD 110-billion salt-to-software conglomerate was illegal.

The Tatas have submitted that the verdict by the NCLAT "undermined corporate democracy" and the "rights" of its board of directors.

While the petition is pending in the apex court, Mistry came out with a statement on Sunday saying that he is not interested in returning to the Tata Group and the decision was made in the interest of the Group, whose interests are far more important than the interests of any individual.

"To dispel the misinformation campaign being conducted, I intend to make it clear that despite the NCLAT order in my favour, I will not be pursuing the executive chairmanship of Tata Sons, or directorship of TCS, Tata Teleservices or Tata Industries.

"I will however vigorously pursue all options to protect our rights as a minority shareholder, including that of resuming the thirty-year history of a seat at the Board of Tata Sons and the incorporation of the highest standards of corporate governance and transparency at Tata Sons," he said.

In the last three years, both in conduct and in their statements to the world at large, Tata Group's leadership has shown scant respect for the rights of minority shareholders, Mistry said, adding that it is time the Group's management introspects and reflects on its conduct as it embarks on future actions. "I am humbled by the NCLAT order, which after review of the enormous material on record, recognized the illegal manner in which I was removed and the oppressive and prejudicial conduct of Mr. Tata and other Trustees," he said.

TSPL, formerly known as Tata Sons Limited, in its petition, has sought "setting aside of the impugned judgment in toto" of NCLAT, alleging it was "completely inconsistent with the annals of corporate law" and reflected "non-appreciation of facts", which was "untenable in law".

NCLAT held that the group's chairman emeritus Ratan Tata's actions against Mistry were oppressive and the appointment of a new chairman was illegal.

It, however, stayed the operation of its order with respect to Mistry's reinstatement for four weeks to allow TSPL to file an appeal in the top court.

In its appeal, filed through Karanjawala & Co, TSPL sought a stay on NCLAT's verdict as an interim relief.

"In other words, far from putting an end to the alleged acts complained of, the judgment (of the NCLAT) has sown the seeds for a never-ending discord and conflict between the shareholders of the appellant (TSPL), creating a recipe for an unmitigated disaster,"

it said.

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