New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order directing restoring of Cyrus Misty as executive chairman of Tata Sons.
Staying the operation of the NCLAT’s December 18, 2019 order restoring Mr Mistry as the Tata Group’s executive chairman, a bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant also issued notice on the cross petitions returnable in four weeks.
The stay on the entire order came as the senior counsel appearing for Cyrus Mistry urged the court to stay only that part of the order that directed the restoration of Mr Mistry as Tata Sons chairman as Mr Mistry has already said he don’t want to be reinstalled as head of the Tata Group.
Senior counsel C.A. Sundram, representing the Cyrus Investment Pvt Ltd and Sterling Investment Corp. Ltd, said except for the part of the NCALT order directing restoring Mr Mistry as group chairman, the other part of the appellate tribunal’s order should not be stayed.
As the court said the notice was returnable in four weeks, the counsel for Mr Mistry wanted it made two weeks, saying all the parties in the case were either appellants or respondents in different cross-petitions before the court. At this, Chief Justice Bobde said: “You have not been in saddle for a long time, so you can wait for some time.”
Mr Sundram told the court that as long as the Tatas were a public limited company, the interest of the minority stakeholders were protected, but since it was now a private limited entity, the minority shareholders can be asked to divest their stakes.
“If the court stays the entire order of NCALT, everything goes”, Mr Sundram told the court.
Ms Mistry holds a 18.37 per cent stake in Tata Sons that according to senior counsel Neeraj Kishan Kaul amounts to about Rs 100,000 crores. Mr Kaul had appeared for Mr Mistry. Mr Kaul told the court they have always been part of the Tata board as a director of Tata Sons for long, and that position should be restored.
Mr Mistry was removed as Tata Group chairman on October 24, 2016 after being at the helm for over four years after his appointment in 2012, after the retirement of Ratan Tata. He was the sixth
SC stays order restoring Mistry as Tata chief chairman of the group, and only the second after Nowroji Saklatwala to not bear the Tata surname.
The NCLAT order passed on December 18, 2019 was to come into force in four weeks from then. The NCALT had allowed the Tatas to appeal in the Supreme Court against its order.