Zee Vs Invesco: NCLAT Says Zee Should Be Given Reasonable Time To File A Reply
The National Company Law Tribunal made an error in not granting enough time to Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. to file its reply to Invesco Developing Markets Fund’s petition, the appellate tribunal has held.
Zee should be given reasonable and sufficient time for replying to the petition that seeks an extraordinary general meeting of the company, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal said. The NCLAT, however, has not specified the time Zee should be given.
We are of the opinion that reasonable and sufficient opportunity should be given to the Appellants for filing a reply. After hearing both the parties, the Learned NCLT should proceed further.NCLAT order
In the hearing on Thursday, lawyers for Zee requested the NCLAT to give them two weeks to file a reply to Invesco’s petition. Senior Counsel Navroz Seervai, representing India's largest publicly traded television network, said it was a travesty of justice that the NCLT gave them 36 hours to file their reply.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, arguing for Invesco, opposed Zee’s request and said for three days while the hearing was on, the company's lawyers did not ask the tribunal to allow them to file a written reply.
Besides, the company has filed a petition with the Bombay High Court, Rohatgi reminded the appellate tribunal. You can file a petition, a suit but not a reply, Rohatgi asked his opposing counsel.
The Case So Far...
Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund LLC, which together own 17.88% stake in the company, have sought an EGM to oust Punit Goenka, managing director and chief executive officer and appoint 6 new independent directors.
Invesco moved the NCLT, seeking the EGM, but the Zee board rejected the requisition and moved the Bombay High Court calling the requisition illegal. While the high court is yet to take it up, the NCLT asked Zee to file its response by Thursday.
The company moved the NCLAT on Wednesday, complaining that the time granted by the tribunal was inadequate. It also sought a stay on the proceedings before the tribunal until the NCLAT decides on the appeal.
The NCLT took up the case on Thursday but agreed to postpone the hearing for a day after Zee lawyers informed the tribunal that the appellate tribunal had reserved the order in their plea.
The bench, however, observed that Zee had time to file the petition in the appellate tribunal but could not file a reply in the NCLT.