“There cannot be a halfway measure. One cannot say this or that company will not be party to mediation. All companies under all brothers have to be party to the mediation. If all sides are agreeable to this, then well and good. If not, then we will pass interim orders,” said a bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli.
This observation came after Sanjay Kirloskar’s counsel A M Singhvi pointed out that his other brothers have violated the Deed of Family Settlement (DFS) to acquire companies to compete with his core business — manufacture of pumps. “Now, they say that since those companies were not part of the DFS, they would not be party to the mediation. This would yield no result,” he said.
Appearing for the companies and the other brothers, senior advocates Shyam Divan and Ritin Rai told the court that those three companies are listed companies with independent directors and hence cannot be forced to join mediation without a proper board decision. However, they said that all brothers are agreeable to mediation under Justice Malhotra.
The bench put its foot down and said, “Whether there is any nexus between the brothers and those three companies can be looked into by the mediator. All companies have to join mediation for a comprehensive settlement. Let the mediator decide who are essential parties to the mediation and settlement. Otherwise it will be an incomplete mediation.” Rai said he would respond after taking instructions from his clients. SC posted the matter for hearing on December 1.