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Tata-Mistry Case: Ratan Tata emerges victorious in the Supreme Court battle

The Supreme Court set aside the NCLAT order restoring Cyrus Mistry as executive chairman of the Tata Group. A bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said it is allowing the appeals filed by Tata Group.
 
“The order of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) dated December 18, 2019 is set aside,” the bench said. It said, “...all the questions of law are liable to be answered in favour of the appellants Tata Group and the appeals filed by the Tata Group are liable to be allowed and SP Group is liable to be dismissed.”
 
The apex court had on January 10 last year granted relief to Tata group by staying the NCLAT order by which Mistry was restored as the executive chairman of the conglomerate. Mistry had succeeded Ratan Tata as chairman of Tata Sons in 2012 but was ousted four years later.
 
The top court further said, “We leave it to Tata Sons, Mistry to take legal route to resolve issue of shares. Value of Tata Sons shares depends on equity.” 
 
Cyrus Mistry, whose family holds a majority stake in Tata Sons, was appointed as Chairman in 2012 and was ousted in 2016. Ratan Tata has asked Mistry to step down from his post as the board had lost faith in him. However, Mistry’s refusal to leave had resulted in the very public spat between Tata and Mistry.
 
Here’s a timeline of the legal case so far:
 
December 2012 – Cyrus Mistry becomes the Chairman of Tata Sons Limited 
 
October 24, 2016 – Mistry gets removed from his position of Executive Chairman, in just four years of being at the helm by the majority of the board of directors of the company. 
 
December 2016 – Mistry resigns from all Tata Group companies. The Mistry family also filed a case in National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) accusing Tata Sons of mismanagement and shareholder oppression.
 
February 6, 2017 – Shareholders vote for the removal of Mistry from the board of Tata Sons. 
 
February 21, 2017- Tata Sons names N Chandrasekaran, the then CEO of TCS, as Executive Chairman of Tata Sons. 
 
July 12, 2018 - NCLT dismisses Mistry’s firm’s petition which said that Tata’s Board of Directors are competent to remove the Chairman and that no selection committee is required to remove the Executive Chairman. The same judgement also said that it can’t stop Tata Sons from being a private company. Mistry then makes an appeal to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.
 
December 19, 2019 – The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) says that Cyrus Mistry’s removal as the Chairman of Tata Sons is illegal and that his position should be restored. 
 
January 2, 2020 – Tata Sons goes on to challenge the NCLAT decision in the Supreme Court. 
 
January 10, 2020 – Supreme Court stays the NCLAT judgment.
 
February 2020 – Mistry then moves one step ahead – files a cross appeal against the NCLAT judgement. 
 
“The NCLAT by limiting the relief granted to the appellants in connection with their prayer for Board representation, only to the remainder of Mr. Cyrus Mistry’s tenure has not secured the interest of the Shapoorji Pallonji group from any prejudicial conduct in the future,” Mistry’s petition said. 
 
September 22, 2020 - Cyrus Mistry's Shapoorji Pallonji Group (SP Group) is restrained by the Supreme Court from pledging any shares in Tata Sons to raise funds.
 
December 8, 2020 – The Chief Justice of India SA Bobde leads a three-judge bench for the final hearing in the case. 
 
December 17, 2020 – Supreme Court reserves judgment.

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