Supreme Court dismisses appeal on Harsh Lodha

Harsh V Lodha  

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed three special leave petitions and upheld last week’s division bench verdict of the Calcutta High Court, clearing the decks for three companies headed by Harsh Vardhan Lodha — Birla Corporation Ltd., Vindhya Telelinks Ltd. and Birla Cable Ltd. — to declare and give effect to resolutions passed at their annual general meetings last year.

“This verdict marks a major victory — the second one in a week — in the sustained efforts of these companies to thwart attempts to disrupt their functioning, typically made ahead of their annual general meetings,” said Debanjan Mandal, legal counsel to Mr. Lodha and partner at solicitor firm, Fox & Mandal.

The Birlas, through the defendants in the suit for probate of the last Will of the late Priyamvada Devi Birla, had last year moved the Calcutta High Court and obtained an injunction on declaration of results of polls taken at the annual general meetings of these three companies.

The resolutions that were disputed included the reappointment of Mr. Lodha as a director in Vindhya Telelinks and Birla Cable, and even held up the payment of dividend to shareholders of Birla Corporation, a Birla Group release noted.

Determining jurisdiction

A two-judge division bench of the Calcutta High Court had on May 4 ruled that the probate court hearing the dispute over Priyamvada Devi Birla’s will should have first determined if it had the jurisdiction to impose restrictions on the operations of these companies, and set aside the injunctions passed by the High Court’s single judge.

On Monday, Supreme Court judges D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah said there was no reason to interfere with the division bench’s verdict, while reiterating that the single-judge probate court must determine if it has jurisdiction in the first place.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 10:21:02 PM |

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