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Reasonable and sufficient opportunity should be given to Zee for filing reply: NCLAT –

It is clear that the learned NCLT has committed an error in not granting reasonable and sufficient time for filing a reply, said NCLAT in its order.

ZEEL | Representative image

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has set aside National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) order asking Zee Entertainment to file reply within two days.

In its order dated October 7, NCLAT said that reasonable and sufficient opportunity should be given to Zee for filing a reply.

“It is clear that the Learned NCLT has committed an error in not granting reasonable and sufficient time for filing a reply, which is a complete violation of Rule 37 of NCLT Rules and Principles of Natural Justice,” said the appellate tribunal in its order.

A Zee spokesperson said that the decision of the NCLAT on October 7, justifies their complete faith in the Indian judicial system.

“The due process of the law grants everyone an opportunity to present their case. NCLAT has taken cognizance of our plea and has reinforced the principles of natural justice, granting us a reasonable opportunity to be heard. The Company will continue to take all the necessary steps that are in the best interests of all its shareholders and as per the applicable law,” the spokesperson added.

Zee had approached the appellate tribunal on October 6 in a bid to stay the NCLT order which sought its reply by October 7 on a plea moved by shareholder Invesco. The media company said it had approached NCLAT because it needed reasonable time and opportunity to respond.

“The company has moved to NCLAT in accordance with the due process available under the law. The company has also filed a suit in Bombay High Court to declare that the requisition notice sent by Invesco Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China Fund LLC is invalid,” Zee’s spokesperson had said.

All eyes will be on what NCLT decides as the matter will heard by the tribunal on October 8.

The boardroom battle in Zee emerged in September after Invesco, which along with OFI Global China Funds LLC holds a 17.88 percent stake in the company, wrote to the board of directors on September 11 seeking an EGM.

The EGM was demanded by Invesco to push for the ouster of three directors including MD and CEO Punit Goenka. The shareholder also intended to nominate six new directors to the board.

But on October 1, the board of Zee Entertainment said in a regulatory filing that it will not hold an EGM as demanded by shareholder Invesco Developing Market Funds.

“The Board deliberated, and unanimously concluded that the Requisition Notice is not valid, as it suffers from multiples legal infirmities,” the company said in the regulatory filing.

Maryam Farooqui