The Supreme Court on Monday (January 6, 2020) adjourned the criminal defamation case filed by Nusli Wadia against Ratan Tata for hearing on next Monday (January 13, 2020).
The Full Bench of Chief Justice of India- S A Bobde, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant took up the petition filed against the order of the Bombay High Court. Justice Bobde was also observed stating, "You are leaders of the industry, why don't you both sit together and resolve the matter? Why pursue a litigation like this?"
This power duo and two towering names in the Indian business industry have been at loggerheads with each other for quite some time now. This relationship turned brittle after Nusli Wadia sided with Cyrus Mistry in the Mistry-Tata war. In 2019, Cyrus Mistry was ousted from Tata Sons while being the executive chairman and a board member too. Wadia was also quoted saying: "I am proud that I was the only independent director who believed in Cyrus and was opposed to his unjust removal".
The prominent head of Bombay Dyeing wasn’t in the country when Mistry was ousted from the board of Tata Sons thereby reinstating erstwhile chairman for a period of four months. It is only pertaining to this incident that the friendship doesn’t subsist today.Following this public dispute, Wadia was also removed from the board of members of the Tata Sons, eventually.
Wadia had filed a criminal defamation suit after he was voted out and extracted as an independent director and Mistry was removed from the group and as the chairman. The Mumbai Magistrate court brought charges and offered it against Tata, Chandrasekaran and a few more of its board members in December 2018. The Bombay High Court had disregarded the proceedings against Tata Sons' former chairman Ratan Tata and the other board members.
The matter has now reached the Supreme Court and is being looked into by CJI Bobdeendeavouring to pass a suggestion of settling the matter out of court.
Author: Smriti Arvind