TATA Sons v. Cyrus Mistry: The Battle Still Continues

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The courtroom war between Tata Sons and Cyrus Mistry has reached its 7th day in the courtroom, with continuous hearings, without rest, by both the parties.

A three-judge bench, consisting of Chief Justice of India, Sharad A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna, and V. Ramasubramanian, has been constituted for the hearing. While Adv. Shyam Divan, CA Sundaram, and  Sr. Adv. Janak Dwarkadas put forth the arguments on behalf of Mr. Cyrus Mistry, the Tata Sons Group is being represented by Adv. Harish Salve, Amit Sibal, and Mohan Parasaran.

The factsheet/events that were played over by Adv. Shyam Divan during the hearing:

December 13, 2012: Last Board Meeting attended by Mr Ratan Tata.

June 28, 2016: Mr Cyrus Mistry was appreciated by NRC (Nomination Remuneration Committee and 50 other directors for his performance as the Executive Chairman.

July 21, 2016: Mr Mistry consulted Mr Tata regarding the practical difficulties that he observed in the Articles of Association.

July 28, 2016: Mr Mistry received his reply from Mr Tata asking him to comply with AoA while disagreeing with his complaint and informed him to comply with the principles of Shareholders as well.

August 8, 2016: Two letters, in his personal capacity, were sent by Mr Tata to the board, as a shareholder.

October 24, 2016: As Chairman Emeritus, Mr Ratan Tata attend his first Board of Directors meeting in four years (first after December 13’2012). The meeting has present Mr Cyrus Mistry, Directors, Nominees of Tata Sons, Independent Directors and 2 personal nominees: Mr Priamal and Mr Shrinivasa; who were nominated on Ratan Tata’s personal recommendation and all of the participants voted for the removal of Mr Cyrus Mistry from the Board of Directors.

The Tata and Mistry dispute was re-opened by the Supreme Court on January 10’2020 where the appellants’ Ratan Tata and the Tata Sons approached the court, seeking a stay order from the National Company Law Appellant Tribunal (NCLAT), which reinstated Cyrus Mistry as the chairman of the $110 Billion Tata Sons group.

While, on Sunday, Mistry said,

“This fight is not for the executive chairmanship of Tata Sons or the directorship in any Tata Companies.”

“I will, however, vigorously pursue all options to protect our rights as a minority shareholder, including that of resuming the thirty-year history of a seat at the board of Tata Sons and the incorporation of the highest standards of corporate governance and transparency at Tata Sons”

While Mr Mistry is fighting this battle in court for preserving his family shareholding of some 18.37 per cent in the holding company, Mr Ratan Tata, on the other hand, is trying to blanket the stay on the NCLAT order. Mr Tata is trying to dispose of Mistry of every shareholder/directorship duties of the company and is trying to block the re-entry of Mistry into any group roles whatsoever.

While the plea was moved to Supreme Court, the SC held that they found the Tata Group guilty of taking “oppressive and prejudicial steps” against Mr Mistry.

Strongly criticizing the judgement, Tata alleged that the appellate tribunal has propagated a selective narrative by glossing over the record.


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