The Tatas-Cyrus Mistry duel is not going away. Though the Supreme Court had stayed the order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and order seemed to have been restored, Cyrus Mistry has now approached the Supreme Court with a cross appeal.
A cross appeal is being described as an appeal where you donâ€™t question the entire judgement by a lower authority, but some facets of it. In the present case, Cyrus Mistry has pointed out that his family, which owns 18.37% equity in Tata Sons has not been dealt a fair deal by the NCLAT in its order.
The points raised by Mistry in his appeal and seeking intervention from the apex court relates to the rights as a minority shareholder. More significantly, the 18.37% shares held by the Shapoorji Pallonji Mistry family is worth a whopping Rs 1.5 lakh crore at the current price in the exchanges. Mistry says the family must be given a representation in the board of directors of Tata Sons. The relationship between the Mistrys and the Tatas is as old as 60 years and that has also been given a go by.
The point being raised by Cyrus Mistry in his appeal is that Tata Sons changed the Articles of Association of the company to deny his family the rights they deserve as minority shareholders and the NCLAT should have ordered that the Articles of Association harmful to the minority shareholders be changed. He says NCLAT has these powers but in its order, it has said it did not have the powers. These are the areas where he wants the SC to intervene and set right.
It may be recalled that immediately after NCLAT gave its judgement reinstating him as the Executive Chairman of the Tata Group, he had said he was not interested in taking up any executive position in the group. This has been again stated in the cross appeal that he does desire any reinstatement.
Interestingly, as part of the papers attached to this appeal, is a personal handwritten letter from Ratan Tata to Pallonji Mistry, Cyrusâ€™ father, assuring that he as the Chairman of Tata Sons will have the best of relationships with the Mistry family and will not harm their interests in any manner. This was in 1991 immediately after he was appointed as the Chairman.
The appeal has been filed in the SC on February 14.