Tata vs Cyrus Mistry: SC dismisses review petitions by Mistry against March 2021 judgment

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed review petitions filed on behalf of Cyrus Investments Pvt. Ltd. and Sterling Investments Pvt. Ltd. seeking review of the apex court’s March 2021 judgment upholding Tata group’s decision to remove Cyrus Mistry as executive Chairman of Tata Sons.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana dismissed the review petitions.

In a separate application for expunging remarks, the top court agreed to expunge certain remarks made against Mistry, but has also directed that certain offensive paragraphs directed against the court made in the application for expunction be deleted/withdrawn.

In February this year, the top court had agreed to hear review petitions filed by Cyrus Investments and Sterling Investments against the apex court verdict, where it accepted all contentions of the Tata conglomerate and set aside the order of the NCLAT, which restored Cyrus Mistry as the executive chairman of the Tata conglomerate.

In March last year, a bench headed by then Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said all questions of law are in favour of Tata Group and dismissed the appeals filed by Mistry. The top court also upheld the Tata Sons decision to sack Cyrus Mistry on October 24, 2016.

In February this year, a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian considered the review petition filed by Mistry. Justice Ramasubramanian dissented.

The top court, in its February 15 order, said: “Applications seeking exemption from filing affidavits are allowed. Applications seeking oral hearing of the Review Petitions are allowed. List the Review Petitions on Wednesday, the 9th March, 2022.”

Justice Ramasubramanian, in his dissenting opinion, said: “With utmost respect, I regret my inability to agree with the order. I have carefully gone through the Review Petitions and I do not find any valid ground to review the judgment. The grounds raised in the Review Petitions do not fall within the parameters of a review and hence the applications seeking oral hearing deserve to be dismissed.”

In the verdict passed on March 26 last year, the top court said: “We find 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 Shapoorji Pallonji group is liable to be dismissed.”

It also said the value of SP Group shares will depend on the valuation by Tata Sons equities and the court will not determine the fair value. In December 2019, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had ruled that the proceedings of the Board meeting of Tata Sons held on October 24, 2016 removing Cyrus Mistry as chairperson was illegal.

Senior advocates Harish N. Salve and A.M. Singhvi, appeared for Tata, assisted by a team from Karanjawala & Co. advocates led by advocate Ruby Singh Ahuja.

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