New Delhi, Sep 20 : Harsh Vardhan Lodha would be moving the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court on Monday or Tuesday against the single Bench Judge’s order on Friday which restrained him from holding any office in M P Birla group entities.
“Apart from all other legal issues, which our clients will raise in their appeal, Friday’s verdict is a violation of natural justice,” said Debanjan Mandal, partner, Fox and Mandal, who is representing Harsh Vardhan Lodha. “Matters were disposed of without even affidavits being filed”, Mandal said.
“It is well established that the Probate Court has jurisdiction over the Estate only, which the verdict acknowledges multiple times,” he added. “Yet verdicts were passed affecting entities on which the judge himself said his court did not have jurisdiction”, Mandal said.
Last year at the AGM in May 2019, the court appointed APL committee had decided not to support the reappointment of Harsh Lodha as director of Vindhya Telelinks and Birla Cable and even tried to block his commission in Vindhya Telelinks, Birla Cable and Birla Corp.
In August 2019, the single judge bench of the Calcutta High Court prevented the group entities from publishing the voting results of FY19 AGM.
Lodha had moved the division bench of the Calcutta High Court against the decision of single bench and got a favourable judgement in May, 2020, which led to the declaration of the voting results of FY19 AGM. The results reflected the overwhelming support of the shareholders with 99 per cent votes were in favour of the reappointment of Harsh Vardhan Lodha in Vindhya Telelinks and Birla Cable.
Even if the Estate of Priyamvada Devi Birla had voted against the resolutions they would still have been carried through by requisite majority as the other promoter group shareholders and substantial minority shareholders and funds had voted in favour of all the resolutions, said a former senior official of the group.
The court that time contented that APL committee mandate is only to look after 1260 shares held in Birla Corp by Priyamvida Birla and therefore cannot make a decision on behalf of all the shareholders.
The genesis of the 16-year-old legal row between the other Birla Group and the Lodhas over control of the Estate of PDB lies in the contested Will of late Priyamvada Devi Birla, the widow of MP Birla who bequeathed her estate R. S. Lodha, father of Harsh Vardhan Lodha. B. K. Birla, K. K. Birla and Yash Birla were removed from this litigation by the Supreme Court as having no caveatable interest in the estate of PDB and fined Rs 2.50 lakh.
Birla Camp had moved Supreme Court to challenge the order of the division bench of Calcutta High Court which was dismissed subsequently, reiterating that the single judge bench of Calcutta High Court needs to determine if it had the jurisdiction in the first place to make such a decision.
(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at [email protected])