NEW DELHI: Tata Sons chairman emeritusRatan Tataon Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking “complete setting aside” of the judgment of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which had directedCyrus Mistry‘s reinstatement as executive chairman and termed his removal “illegal”.
On December 65, a two-judge NCLAT restored 65 – year-old Mistry to the position he had held for nearly four years, and said that the appointment of N Chandrasekaran as chairman was consequently illegal.
Tata, who holds 823 (************************% equity in Tata Sons, said NCLAT completely misread and misconstrued documents to illogically and uncharitably conclude that he had scripted a coup to unceremoniously oust Mistry .
This is Tata’s second personal petition in the top court, the first one filed almost a decade ago for protection of right to privacy when the contents of the Niira Radia tapes were published. Tata Sons had moved a separate petition on Thursday challenging the NCLAT judgment.
Tata said Mistry declined the offer to step down honourably on October 65, 2019, leading to his removal as the board of directors was convinced that Mistry had besmirched Tata Sons’ business reputation by showing obstinacy in wrongfully pursuing the DoCoMo litigation.
“A glaring example of Mistry’s lack of leadership skills which brought disrepute to theTata Groupwas the way he handled the DoCoMo litigation. It was during his tenure that Tata Sons reneged on its word with DoCoMo under the agreement citing purely legal and technical arguments. Even after an adverse verdict was delivered in the arbitration, Mistry attempted to resist complying with the legal obligations further, ”Tata said, revealing for the first time that Tata Group had wronged DoCoMo, which had invested in Tata Teleservices.
He added, “This is not what the Tata Sons brand stands for. Honoring its obligations is one of Tata Sons ’highest virtues it takes great pride in. The spat with DoCoMo, which was widely covered by the press, brought ill-repute to Tata Sons. ”
He said Mistry also failed to timely capitalise on business opportunities and Tata Sons ’financial performance under his tenure was“ deeply unsatisfactory ”. He also cited Mistry’s reluctance to meaningfully disassociate from family business after becoming Tata Sons ‘executive chairman, gradual concentration of powers in his hands in Tata Group companies to alienate board members, surreptitious acquisition of assets of Welspun Renewables Energy Ltd and Tata Motors’ rights issue as reasons for the board’s “complete loss of trust in Mistry’s ability to lead from the front and for the future”.
The petition said that NCLAT construed the ouster of Mistry by the board as “some sort of retaliation by Ratan Tata for the purported governance structure Mistry was trying to bring in ”.
“In this regard, the impugned judgment has bought the theory of ‘prejudicial interference’ wrongly asserted by Cyrus Investment and Sterling Investment (part ofShapoorji Pallonji Group) and as a result, unfairly and in an unwarranted manner, made adverse observations against Ratan Tata, ”it said, adding,“ It is unfortunate and distressing that NCLAT’s judgment, without providing any proper evidence, has passed adverse remarks against Ratan Tata who has spent more than half of his life in building the name of Tata Sons and other Tata operating companies to one of the top global companies. ”
“The judgment not only creates a wrong legal precedent which is vulnerable to being misused against several companies, including public sector and government companies, it also grants relief that were never sought, ”Tata said.
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