Bombay High Court refuses interim relief to Chanda Kochhar in suit against ICICI Bank for post-retirement benefits

In the suit filed against the bank, Kochhar has sought specific performance of her entitlements and benefits that were unconditionally provided to her when the bank accepted her early retirement in 2018.
Chanda Kochhar, ICICI Bank and Bombay High Court
Chanda Kochhar, ICICI Bank and Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court on Thursday refused interim relief to former chief executive officer (CEO) of ICICI Bank, Chanda Kochhar in a suit filed by her against the bank for post retirement benefits.

Single judge Justice RI Chagla pronounced the verdict today, stating that Kochhar's termination was valid.

It, therefore, refused to pass any interim order in the suit seeking specific performance of her former employer’s contractual obligations towards benefits due to her since her early retirement from the bank on October 4, 2018.

While Kochhar's interim relief was rejected, the interim relief sought by the bank was granted.

Kochhar was directed to not deal with the 69,0000 shares, that Kochhar claimed were allotted to her. If she has dealt with any shares then she must disclose the same on affidavit, Justice Chagla directed.

In the suit filed against the bank, Kochhar sought specific performance of her entitlements and benefits that were unconditionally provided to her when the bank accepted her early retirement in 2018.

Kochhar stated in her suit that the bank was fully aware of the terms of reference and scope of enquiry when entering into a contract with Kochhar which granted her certain benefits unconditionally.

She claimed that the bank later reneged from its contractual commitment flowing from its acceptance letter without any justification.

In any event, the bank could not have terminated a person who had already retired, the suit stated.

The benefits granted to her unconditionally included employee stock options that were exercisable till 2028 and a tranche of such stock options was purportedly expiring April this year, which gave rise to the urgency in hearing.

The bank had on the contrary sought for an order directing Kochhar to stay her hands on the stocks till her suit is finally heard.

Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy with Rohan Dakshini from Rashmikant Partners appeared for Kochhar.

Senior Advocates Darius Khambata and Dr Birendra Saraf with Advocate Rahul Dwarkadas from Veritas Legal appeared for ICICI Bank.

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