Cyrus Mistry Vs Tata Group: How The Fight Played Out Over Three Years At NCLT, NCLAT
On Wednesday, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal restored Cyrus Mistry as the executive chairman of Tata Sons Ltd.
Though Tata has the option to approach the Supreme Court against the NCLAT verdict, the order culminates a three-year courtroom battle that started after Mistry’s ouster on Oct. 24, 2016.
The following is the chronology of the developments that took place in the Tata-Mistry case before the NCLAT and Mumbai-bench of National Company Law Tribunal:
Oct. 24, 2016: Cyrus Mistry ousted as Tata Sons chairman, Ratan Tata named as the interim chairman of the group.
Dec. 20, 2016: Two Mistry family backed investment firms, Cyrus Investments Pvt. Ltd. and Sterling Investments Corporation Pvt. Ltd., move Mumbai bench of NCLT alleging oppression of minority shareholders and mismanagement by Tata Sons. They also challenged Mistry's removal.
Jan. 12, 2017: Tata Sons names Natarajan Chandrashekaran as chairman. He was then chief executive officer and managing director at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.
Feb. 6, 2017: Mistry removed as a director on the board of Tata Sons, the holding company of Tata group companies.
Mar. 6, 2017: NCLT Mumbai sets aside plea of the two investment firms of Mistry family over maintainability issue, citing they didn't meet the criteria—10 percent ownership in a company—for the filing of a case of alleged oppression of minority shareholders under The Companies Act, 2013.
The Mistry family owns 18.4 percent stake in Tata Sons but the holding is less than 3 percent if preferential shares are excluded.
Apr. 17, 2017: NCLT Mumbai also rejects pleas by the two investment firms' seeking waiver in the criteria of having at least 10 percent ownership in a company for filing case of alleged oppression of minority shareholders.
Apr. 27, 2017: The investment firms move the NCLAT, challenging the NCLT order which rejected their petitions over maintainability. They also challenged rejection of their waiver plea.
Sept. 21, 2017: NCLAT allows pleas by the two investment firms seeking waiver in filing case of oppression and mismanagement against Tata Sons, but dismissed Mistry's other petition on maintainability saying the firms do not have more than 10 percent stake in Tata Sons. The appellate tribunal directs the Mumbai-bench of the NCLT to issue notice and proceed in the matter.
Oct. 5, 2017: The two investment firms approach the principal bench of NCLT at Delhi, seeking transfer of the matter from Mumbai to Delhi citing likelihood of bias. The principal bench reserves order on the plea of the two investment firms.
Oct. 6, 2017: The principal bench of NCLT dismisses the pleas and imposes a cost of Rs 10 lakh on the two investment firms, which was to be shared by both.
Jul. 9, 2018: NCLT Mumbai dismisses pleas of Mistry challenging his removal as Tata Sons chairman as also the allegations of rampant misconduct on part of Ratan Tata and the company's board. The court said it found no merit in his allegations of mismanagement in Tata group firms.
Aug. 3, 2018: The two investment firms approach the NCLAT against the order of the NCLT dismissing his plea challenging his removal as chairman of the company.
Aug. 29, 2019: The NCLAT admits petition filed by Cyrus Mistry in his personal capacity and decided to hear along with the main petitions filed by the two investment firms.
May 23, 2019: NCLAT reserves its order after completing the hearing in the matter.
Dec. 18, 2019: NCLAT restores Cyrus Mistry as executive chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., but suspended its implementation for four weeks in order to provide time for Tata Group to appeal. Tata Group stocks tanked after the verdict.