SC dismisses plea to review verdict on removal of Cyrus Mistry as Tata Sons head

The Supreme Court dismissed a petition filed by Shapoorji Pallonji Group on Thursday challenging its March 26, 2021, ruling that approved Tata Sons’ move to remove Cyrus Pallonji Mistry as the group’s executive chairman and director and overruled the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order reinstating him.

Mistry, who took over as chairman of Tata Sons in 2012 after Ratan Tata stepped down, was fired by the board four years later.

The plea was denied by a bench presided over by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana. The court, on the other hand, consented to strike specific words against Mistry from last year’s decision while taking issue with a remark in Mistry’s motion that indicated “the judgment is worse than a press statement.”

The CJI instructed Mistry’s lawyer to drop the motion before the court could consider the plea to expunge statements. The counsel agreed to remove the comment and stated that he had no intention of harming the court.

Setting aside the NCLAT’s December 18, 2019 order, a bench led by then-CJI S A Bobde stated on March 26, 2021: “All the questions of law are liable to be answered in favor of the appellants-Tata group and the appeals filed by the Tata Group are liable to be allowed and the appeal filed by S.P. (Shapoorji Pallonji) Group is liable to be dismissed.”

Ratan Tata, the Tata Group’s Chairman Emeritus, tweeted his satisfaction at the news.

A selection team chose him to lead the Tata Group in mid-2012, and he took over in December of that year. After offering Mistry the opportunity to retire willingly, the board of Tata Sons, the parent company of Tata Group, voted in October 2016 to remove him from the position of chairman. Former chairman Ratan Tata was then named interim chairman, and Natarajan Chandrasekaran was chosen chairman a few months later.

However, in December 2019, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) deemed Chandrasekaran’s appointment as executive chairman to be unconstitutional and reinstated Mistry. However, on January 10, 2020, the Supreme Court delayed the NCLAT’s order. Mistry has filed a cross-appeal with the court, seeking answers for NCLAT anomalies.