The Bombay HC on Monday quashed an order of a lower court that had allowed proceedings against chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ratan Tata and others, including group chief N Chandrasekaran, in a criminal defamation case filed by industrialist Nusli Wadia.
In his complaint in the magistrate court, Wadia, who was an independent director of three Tata group companies, had accused Ratan Tata and others of making a defamatory statement against him after they removed Cyrus Mistry as the group chairman of Tata Sons in 2016. A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre allowed a plea filed by Ratan Tata and other Tata top brass to quash the defamation case proceedings against them. The HC held that the magistrate, in passing the order on December 15, 2018, had acted in a “mechanical manner”.During last month’s hearing, Tata’s counsel A M Singhvi and Amit Desai had argued that the notice for Wadia’s removal as a director cannot be “per se” construed as libel. Wadia’s counsel Aabad Ponda, however, said a requisition for removal under the Companies Act cannot be a licence to defame a person.