The Supreme Court today ruled in favour of Tata Sons and Ratan Tata, by upholding the ouster of Cyrus Mistry as the Executive Chairman of the salt-to-software Tata Conglomerate. The apex court dismissed pleas filed by Cyrus Mistry and set aside the NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal) order. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, and comprising Justice A S Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian had reserved the judgement earlier in December on various pleas by Tata Sons as well as Cyrus Mistry’s Cyrus Investments Pvt Ltd.
The Apex Court, however, stopped short of adjudicating on the matter of separation between the two groups. The order leaves Tata Sons and Cyrus Mistry on their own to decide the issue of shares held by the Shapoorji Pallonji Group.
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“I appreciate and am grateful for the judgement passed by the honourable Supreme Court today,” said Ratan Tata Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons in a statement. “It is not an issue of winning or losing. After relentless attacks on my integrity and the ethical conduct of the group, the judgement upholding all the appeals of Tata Sons is a validation of the values and ethics that have always been the guiding principles of the group. It reinforces the fairness and justice displayed by our judiciary,” Rata Tata added.
The judgement comes after a long legal battle between the two groups that began in 2017 after Cyrus Mistry was removed as the Executive Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd after a little over four years into his reign. Mistry had approached the Mumbai-bench of NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) earlier in 2017 which ruled that his removal was legal. However, in 2019 the NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal) overturned the NCLT order. It ruled that Cyrus Mistry be reinstated as the Executive Chairman of the $100-billion Tata conglomerate. The Tata Group was represented by the law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.
Both sides had approached the Supreme Court earlier last year. Tata Sons have challenged the NCLAT ruling altogether, saying that the NCLAT has granted reliefs that were not asked for by the opposing party. Meanwhile, Cyrus Mistry’s Shapoorji Pallonji Group has sought representation on the Tata Sons board. Shapoorji Pallonji Group holds an 18.3% stake in Tata Sons through various subsidiaries.
Cyrus Mistry was appointed as the Executive Chairman of Tata Sons in 2012, succeeding Ratan Tata. After Mistry’s removal from the post, N Chandrasekaran was appointed as the Executive Chairman of the company.