Bombay High Court Dismisses Chanda Kochhar’s Plea Against Ouster As ICICI Bank CEO
Chanda Kochhar, former managing director and chief executive officer of ICICI Bank Ltd. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Bombay High Court Dismisses Chanda Kochhar’s Plea Against Ouster As ICICI Bank CEO

The Bombay High Court has rejected Chanda Kochhar’s petition challenging termination as the managing director and chief executive officer of ICICI Bank Ltd. and decision to claw back her bonus.

A division bench of Justices NM Jamdar and MS Karnik accepted the bank's contention that Kochhar's petition was not maintainable as the dispute was contractual and concerns a private body.

That comes after Kochhar had moved the Bombay High Court last year seeking quashing of ICICI Bank’s move to claw back an amount of Rs 7.4 crore granted to her between April 2009 and March 2018, and declare the bank’s decision to terminate her as illegal and non-binding.

Kochhar had argued that her termination was in contravention of law as she had had already sought retirement, which the bank had approved.

ICICI Bank had challenged the maintainability of Kochhar's plea citing that Kochhar's writ petition, which was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India could not be filed it is a private banking entity and not a public body.

Kochhar was terminated from ICICI Bank months after she voluntarily left the helm of India’s second largest private lender.

The banker then moved the high court on Nov. 30, 2019, challenging termination of her employment by ICICI Bank.

She contended that the bank also denied her remuneration and clawed back all the bonuses and stock options between April 2009 and March 2018 for her alleged role in granting out-of-turn loans worth Rs 3,250 crore to Videocon Group, which benefitted her husband Deepak Kochhar.

Chanda Kochhar's counsel Vikram Nankani earlier argued that her termination came months after the bank approved her voluntary resignation on Oct. 5, 2018, and therefore, the termination is "illegal, untenable, and unsustainable in law".

ICICI Bank then filed an affidavit, contending that the reliefs in the petition are not maintainable and it deserves to be dismissed as ICICI Bank is a private lender and is administered under the Companies Act, not the state or its agency.

Khambata argued that ICICI Bank is a private company and Kochhar's petition seeks to contest what are purely private contractual terms.

(With PTI inputs)

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