NCLAT reserves orders on Zeel’s appeal

The order to be pronounced later tonight.

Mumbai: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Thursday reserved orders on an appeal moved by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (Zeel). The company had challenged the 5 October order by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on the matter of requisition for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). The requisition notice was moved by top investors at Zeel including Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund IIC. 

Meanwhile, the NCLT which was slated to take up the application for an EGM on Thursday at 2:30 p.m, has decided to adjourn the hearing until 2:30 p.m on Friday after hearing that NCLAT had reserved its order.

On 5 October, the NCLT had given Zeel two days to file its counter-affidavit to the applications before it. The bench had declined to give more time to file this response opining that it was a simple matter that did not need weeks for a reply to be filed. This order was challenged by Zeel before the NCLAT.

The NCLAT bench has informed that the order on Zeel’s appeal would be pronounced and issued later on Thursday. The bench said that they would not be deciding the case on merits, but would peruse all NCLT orders passed in the matter to take a call on Zeel’s appeal, according to a report by Bar and Bench.

Counsel for Zeel argued that the case before NCLT was only at an interim stage and was converted into a final hearing without giving the company suitable time to respond. Counsel for Invesco argued that there was no distinction between interim relief and final relief in the present case and that "the appeal should be rejected at all costs as it is an abuse of process of court,” according to Bar and Bench.

Zeel’s boardroom tussle began on 11 September, when the company’s top two investors - Invesco and OFI China Fund IIC which together hold an 18 per cent stake in the media company, sent it a requisition notice calling for an EGM of shareholders. The investors sought the removal of Zee’s sitting managing director Punit Goenka and two independent directors Ashok Kurien and Manish Chokhani. The two independent directors had submitted their resignations a day prior. The investors had also sought the appointment of their own six nominees on the board of Zeel.

Zeel had challenged the requisition notice stating that it is “invalid and illegal” and had moved to the NCLAT for a hearing.

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