The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed a plea of the Sapoorji Pallonji (SP) group firms seeking a review of the 2021 verdict which had upheld the Tata group’s decision to remove Cyrus Mistry as the executive chairman of the Tata Sons.
The top court, however, agreed to delete certain remarks made in the 2021 judgement against Cyrus Mistry after the counsel for the SP group said that he was willing to withdraw certain paragraphs, purportedly written against the bench, from their application.
“Sorry, review (petition) is not entertained. Dismissed,” observed a bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian after hearing counsel from both sides.
The plea seeking review of the judgement was sought by S P group firms, Cyrus Investments Private Ltd and Sterling Investments Private Ltd.
During the brief hearing, the bench was irked over certain pleadings such as “the judgement is worse than a press statement” made by the SP group in its application for expunction of adverse observations in the judgement against Mistry.
“That is not proper, you first withdraw (the paragraphs),” the CJI said.
Somasekharan Sundaram, the counsel for Mistry, said there was no intention to hurt the bench.
“Scores are settled. We had said something, you have said something against us,” the bench said, adding that one of the observations made in the judgement would be deleted.
The bench said the other side (Tata group) had no objection to Mistry’s remarks in the application.
“We have the objection, the court has the objection. You have said something against the court, not the other side,” it said leading to the withdrawal of certain paragraphs by the counsel of Mistry.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Tata group, said that the court may permit the deletion of one or a few sentences “as an act of grace” and not for the reasons given in the application of the Sapoorji Pallonji (SP) group.
Earlier, the review plea and the application seeking an open court hearing on it was placed before the bench which by a majority of 2:1 had agreed to hear the plea in the open court.
The top court on March 26, 2021, had set aside a National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order restoring Mistry as the executive chairman of a USD 100 billion salt-to-software conglomerates.
The apex court had also dismissed a plea of Shapoorji Pallonji Group seeking separation of ownership interests in Tata Sons Pvt Ltd (TSPL).
Mistry had succeeded Ratan Tata as the chairman of TSPL in 2012 but was ousted four years later.
The SP Group had told the top court that Mistry’s removal as the chairman of TSPL at a board meeting held in October 2016 was akin to a “blood sport” and “ambush”, in complete violation of the principles of corporate governance and pervasive violation of the Articles of Association in the process.
The Tata Group had vehemently opposed the allegations and denied any wrongdoing, saying the board was well within its right to remove Mistry as the chairman.