Mismanagement of Company and Oppression of Minority Shareholder: Locus

Family dispute about ownership of shares:

Merely disowning a son by late father or by the family, is not going to deprive him of any right in the property to which he may be otherwise entitled in accordance with the law. The pertinent question needs to be tried in a civil suit and adjudicated finally, it cannot be decided by NCLT in proceedings in question. Hence, we refrain from deciding the aforesaid question raised on behalf of the appellants in the present proceedings. In the facts and circumstances, it would not be appropriate to permit respondent No.1 to continue the proceedings for mismanagement initiated under sections 241 and 242, that too in the absence of having 10% shareholding and firmly establishing his rights in civil proceedings to the extent he is claiming in the shareholding of the companies.

Civil Dispute:

With regard to the dispute as to right, title, and interest in the securities, the finding of the civil Court is going to be final and conclusive and binding on parties. The decision of such a question has to be eschewed in instant proceedings.It would not be appropriate, in the facts and circumstances of the case, to grant a waiver to the respondent of the requirement under the proviso to section 244 of the Act, as ordered by the NCLAT.

We are of the opinion that the proceedings before the NCLT filed under sections 241 and 242 of the Act should not be entertained because of the pending civil dispute and considering the minuscule extent of holding of 0.03%, that too, acquired after filing a civil suit in company securities, of respondent no. 1. In the facts and circumstances of the instant case, in order to maintain the proceedings, the respondent should have waited for the decision of the right, title and interest, in the civil suit concerning shares in question.The entitlement of respondent No.1 is under a cloud of pending civil dispute. We deem it appropriate to direct the dropping of the proceedings filed before the NCLT regarding oppression and mismanagement under sections 241 and 242 of the Act with the liberty to file afresh, on all the questions, in case of necessity, if the suit is decreed in favour of respondent No.1 and shareholding of respondent No.1 increases to the extent of 10% required under section 244.

[Source: Aruna Oswal vs. Pankaj Oswal decided by SC on 6th July 2020]

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