NCLAT relied heavily on press release: Tata Group lawyers

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on December 23, 2019 Published on December 23, 2019

FILE PHOTO - Mr. Ratan Tata and Mr. Cyrus P. Mistry.   -  The Hindu

The lawyers believe that appellate tribunal considered the release by Tata Sons on November 10, 2016 as evidence for ‘sudden removal of Cyrus Mistry’

A release issued by Tata Sons on November 10, 2016 would have been its own undoing, as Tata Group’s lawyers believe that the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal “relied heavily” on it while pronouncing the judgement in favour of Cyrus Mistry.

The release was issued in response to Mistry’s email after his ouster on October 24, 2016, lawyers representing Tata camp told BusinessLine.

The lawyers, who are readying to appeal against the order before the Supreme Court, were of opinion that the appellate tribunal considered the press release as evidence of ‘sudden and hasty removal of Cyrus Mistry’.

“If we accept the stand taken by the contesting respondents (Tatas) that the removal of Cyrus Pallonji Mistry (11th respondent) is directorial in nature, in the interest of company, in such case, there was no occasion to issue a ‘Press Statement’ where it is noticed that many across the globe have raised concern in the manner Cyrus Mistry was removed,” NCLAT said in its order last week.

The order has also observed that the allegations in the press statement as “not supported by record cannot be accepted,” they said, adding NCLAT had quoted the press release multiple times in its last week’s order.

Tata Group lawyers would state that the NCLAT had “weighed heavily” on the contents of the press release when the case comes up for hearing before the apex court.

The press statement of November 10, 2016, was issued in response to Mistry’s e-mail to Tata Sons’ board members and trustees, which accused Tata Group of misdoings.

Tata Sons, in its arguments before the appellate tribunal, had submitted that the press release was imperative to respond to Mistry’s “allegations and allay the concerns” of various stakeholders.

Tata Group lawyers were of opinion that the press release was part of a corporate procedure and NCLAT should not give it much importance.

Last week (December 18), NCLAT ordered Tata Group to reinstate Cyrus Mistry as executive chairman, a post from which he was ousted following a boardroom coup in 2016. On its part, Tata Sons said it “strongly believes” in the strength of its case and will take appropriate legal recourse.

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Published on December 23, 2019
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