Supreme Court refuses to entertain challenge to reinstatement of Harsh Vardhan Lodha as Director of MP Birla Group Companies
Litigation News

Supreme Court refuses to entertain challenge to reinstatement of Harsh Vardhan Lodha as Director of MP Birla Group Companies

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed petitions challenging the reinstatement of Harsh Vardhan Lodha as Director of the MP Birla Group.

In doing so, the Apex Court has upheld the order of the Calcutta High Court passed last week.

The petition before the Supreme Court challenged the order of the Calcutta High Court which had allowed Lodha's reinstatement with remuneration as Director on the Board of three MP Birla Group Companies - Birla Corporation Ltd., Vindhya Telelinks Ltd., and Birla Cable Ltd.

In its order, the Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah asked the Single Judge Bench of the High Court to give a fresh hearing to the MP Birla Group companies and decide the issues raised therein, including questions on jurisdiction. The same has to be done within a month, the Court said.

The order states,

"The learned Single Judge shall decide upon the issue of jurisdiction, together with the applications for interim relief and render a final determination thereof. The learned Single Judge shall endeavour to do so preferably within a period of one month of the receipt of a copy of this order."
Supreme Court

A Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court on May 4 had directed that the resolutions passed by the companies in question in their respective Annual General Meetings be given effect.

In doing so, the injunctions imposed by the Single Judge were set aside by the Division Bench. The latter ruled that the Probate Court hearing the dispute to the last will and testament of Priyamvada Devi Birla should have first determined the question pertaining to jurisdiction before passing restraint orders that affected the operations of the companies.

While the Probate Court was hearing the dispute over the will, the Birlas had procured an ad-interim injunction from the Single Bench of the Calcutta High Court on the declaration of voting results at the Annual General Meetings of Birla Corporation.

One of the resolutions in dispute at the AGMs pertained to reappointment of Harsh vardhan Lodha as Director of Vindhya Telelinks Ltd. and Birla Cable Ltd.

These resolutions were directed to be declared and given effect to by the Division Bench of the High Court. Thus, Lodha's reinstatement was given the green signal. The same has now been upheld by the Supreme Court.

The petitioner in the case was represented by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, P Chidambaram, Mukul Rohatgi, and KV Vishwanathan.

Senior Advocates Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Arvind Datar, Shyam Divan, and Sajan Poovvaya represented the three listed public companies.

Harsh Vardhan Lodha and the other respondents were represented by Senior Advocate Darius Khambata and Advocate Kunal Vajani.

Read Order:

Harsh Vardhan Lodha's reinstatement order.pdf
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