“You are leaders of the industry, why don't you both sit together and resolve the matter? Why pursue a litigation like this?” the CJI had asked the two industrialists on January 6.
Bombay Dyeing chairman Nusli Wadia on Monday withdrew his criminal defamation case against Tata group executives and board members, including chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, after the Supreme Court recorded the group’s statement that it had no intention to defame Wadia.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, while disposing of the Wadia’s appeal, allowed him to withdraw the defamation case, including the Rs 3,000-crore suit for damages, after recording that Tatas had no intention to defame Wadia.
“In view of the statement made by Tata that there was no intention to defame Wadia, which is in accordance with the finding of the (Bombay) High Court, the petitioner (Wadia) is hereby allowed to withdraw the present petition as well as the pending suit for damages,” the CJI said in the order. The Bench appreciated Wadia for his positive response in resolving the issue. The apex court had last week asked both Wadia and Ratan Tata to resolve their differences as two “mature people.”
“You are leaders of the industry, why don’t you both sit together and resolve the matter? Why pursue a litigation like this?” the CJI had asked the two industrialists on January 6.
After his removal from the boards of Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals as independent director, Wadia had filed a defamation case in December 2016 against Tata Sons and 11 others, including the Tata Group patriarch, after Cyrus Mistry was removed as chairman of Tata Sons. He had sought Rs 3,000 crore as damages.
Wadia had alleged that Tata Sons and others, including Ratan Tata, had defamed him “by printing, publishing and circulating per se false, frivolous, baseless, incorrect, libellous and defamatory material concerning the Complainant”.
On November 10, 2016, Tata Sons had sent a notice requisitioning a special extraordinary meeting. The notice, it is alleged, contained false allegations and defamatory statements against Wadia. The notice allegedly stated that Wadia in concert with Cyrus Mistry was acting against the interests of the company, and had failed to conduct himself independently, and his actions had put the future of Tata Steel in jeopardy.
In December 2018, a Mumbai court had issued notice to Ratan Tata and others. On appeal, the Bombay High Court in July 2019, while setting aside the trial court’s order, observed that the lower court order was passed without application of mind.