The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Tuesday refused to stay Tata Sons Ltd’s extraordinary general meeting of shareholders, scheduled for 6 February, to consider the removal of sacked chairman Cyrus Mistry from the company’s board and adjourned the matter for two weeks.
The case was postponed for two weeks after senior counsel C Aryama Sundaram, who is representing Mistry’s investment firms, argued that the tribunal should pass an order as whether the petition was maintainable or not. Sundaram argued that they want to challenge the EGM in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal and so the case should be adjourned.
Mistry’s counsel also said that the tribunal should either allow or dismiss their appeal but that the tribunal shouldn’t put it in limbo so that they can challenge it.
Countering this, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represents Tata Sons, argued that Mistry’s counsels were engaging in ‘cheap abused tactics’ and should refrain from doing so.
After hearing the arguments, the tribunal’s division bench, comprising Justice BSV Prakash Kumar and member V Nallasenapathy, directed Mistry’s counsel to argue the matter on 13 and 14 February. Tata Sons will get to argue its side on 20 and 21 February. The bench also said that the refusal of Mistry’s counsels to argue the main petition is ‘disobedience’ of the tribunal.
Earlier, on January 18, the Mumbai-bench of NCLT had dismissed a contempt petition filed by two Cyrus Mistry-owned investment firms—Cyrus Investments Pvt. Ltd and Sterling Investment Corporation Pvt. Ltd—and had asked the ousted chairman of Tata Sons to file a separate petition to challenge the EGM.
The investment firms had approached NCLT in December last year, alleging Tata Sons abused the articles of association and the governance framework to enable Ratan Tata to gain control of the company. That petition also named several directors on the board of Tata Sons and its majority shareholder Tata Trusts.
In its response, Tata Sons said that Mistry failed to put into effect his strategy for managing a large and complex group. Tata Sons had sacked Mistry in October.
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