In a major victory for the Tata Group, the Supreme Court on Friday set aside the NCLAT order restoring Cyrus Mistry as the executive chairman of the conglomerate. A bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde, and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said it was allowing the appeals filed by Tata Group.
In light of the Supreme Court ruling, here is a timeline of one of India’s biggest corporate feud:
December 2012: Cyrus Mistry is appointed chairperson of Tata Sons Limited.
October 2016: He is sacked from the post by most of the Board of Directors.
January 2017: Tata Sons names N Chandrashekaran as chairman, the then TCS chief executive officer and managing director.
February 2017: The shareholders vote for Mistry’s removal from the board of Tata Sons during an extraordinary general meeting. Mistry, subsequently, files a suit under various sections of the Companies Act, 2013, alleging oppression and mismanagement in Tata Sons.
March 2017: NCLT Mumbai sets aside plea of the two investment firms of Mistry family over maintainability issue, citing they didn’t meet the criteria of 10 percent ownership in a company for the filing of a case of alleged oppression of minority shareholders under the Companies Act. The Mistry family owns 18.4 percent stake in the closely-held Tata Sons but the holding is less than 3 percent if preferential shares are excluded.
April 2017: NCLT Mumbai also rejects plea by the two investment firms seeking waiver in the criteria of having at least 10 per cent ownership in a company for filing case of alleged oppression of minority shareholders.
April 2017: Investment firms move NCLAT, challenging NCLT order which rejected their petitions over maintainability. They also challenged rejection of their waiver plea.
September 2017: NCLAT allows pleas from the two investment firms seeking waiver in filing case of oppression and mismanagement against Tata Sons. It, however, dismissed Mistry’s other petition on maintainability saying the firms do not have more than 10 per cent in Tata Sons. The appellate tribunal directs the Mumbai-bench of the NCLT to issue notice and proceed in the matter.
October 2017: 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. Principal bench of NCLT dismisses the pleas and imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakh on the two investment firms, which was to be shared by both.
July 2018: The Mumbai Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) dismisses Mistry’s plea against Tata Sons. While rejecting his allegations, NCLT rules that the Board of Directors are competent enough to remove him as Chairman. The tribunal also states that it found no merit in the arguments on mismanagement in Tata Sons.
August 2018: 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 2019: NCLAT reserves its order after completing the hearing in the matter.
December 2018: NCLAT restores Mistry as executive chairman of Tata Sons, but suspended its implementation for four weeks in order to provide time for Tatas to appeal. Jan 2, 2020: Tata Sons, challenges NCLAT decision of December 18, 2019 before Supreme Court.
January 2019: Supreme Court stays NCLAT decision.
September 2019: Supreme Court restrains Shapoorji Pallonji Group from pledging its share in Tata Sons.
December 2019: Final hearing in the dispute commences.
December 2019: SC reserves verdict in the dispute.
January 2020: Tata Sons and Ratan Tata challenge the NCLAT decision before the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the Supreme Court stays the NCLAT judgment to reinstate Mistry as the executive chairman of Tata Sons.
February 2020: Mistry files cross-appeal in the Supreme Court against NCLAT judgment, says his family—Shapoorji Pallonji—deserved more relief from the tribunal.
September 2020: The Supreme Court restrains Mistry’s Shapoorji Pallonji Group from pledging its shares in Tata Sons to raise funds.
December 2020: Final hearing commences before the three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde.
March 2021: SC delivers its verdict, allows Tata Group’s appeals and sets aside NCLAT order restoring Mistry as executive chairman of the Group.