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SC directs Bengaluru court to stay proceedings against Azim Premji, others

SC directs Bengaluru court to stay proceedings against Azim Premji, others

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh asked to tender an unconditional apology to Premji and others for instituting maze of frivolous litigation against them.

 The proceedings in pursuance topending before XXIII Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge & Special Judge (P.C. Act) Bengaluru are stayed, the bench said. The proceedings in pursuance topending before XXIII Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge & Special Judge (P.C. Act) Bengaluru are stayed, the bench said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the proceeding before a Bengaluru court against former Wipro chairman Azim Premji and others and called for a report from the trial judge.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh also asked advocate R Subramanian to tender an unconditional apology to Premji and others for instituting maze of frivolous litigation against them.


The proceedings in pursuance topending before XXIII Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge & Special Judge (P.C. Act) Bengaluru are stayed, the bench said.

It said, We consider the matter serious enough to call for a report from the Sessions Judge concerned in view of his having issued a summoning order predicated on the identity with criminal complaints and recording the same in the order noticing that the quash proceedings filed by the appellants have been dismissed but not noticing that this Court had stayed the proceedings in pursuance to those cases to state before us whether our order of stay proceedings had been brought to the notice or was in the knowledge of the Sessions Judge.

The bench noted that it has called for the report from the trial judge as Subramanian, who has initiated multiple litigations against Premji and others, has stated categorically before the court that the Sessions Judge, dealing with the matter, was fully aware of the interim order passed by this Court based on the proceedings, which happened when he was present in the Court.

"The Sessions Judge may send the report within two weeks. A copy of the order be forthwith transmitted to the Sessions Judge, the bench said.

It said during detailed proceedings today, Subramanian has accepted that he is at a stage of life where he wants to repent for his past conduct, otherwise, he will drown in a whirlpool of his creation.

He is willing to submit an affidavit seeking to make amends for his past conduct vis-a-vis the appellants and other parties to start a new chapter in his life, the bench noted.

It said that this of course will not take away from his responsibility and liability towards the various claimants in the Subhiksha/Vishwapriya litigation and noted that Subramanian, who was the ex-promotor of the pvt firm, also undertakes to make available whatever assets he has in an endeavour to meet the claims of his investors.

We are sure that R. Subramanian has the ability to do something constructive if he switches his mind from the present path where he has created a huge amount of litigation only on account of what he professes as his inability to meet some part of his financial commitments, the bench said.

It added that the court has impressed upon Subramanian that if he was really without resources, the remedy should not have been the path he has traversed.

The result today is that he is faced with criminal contempt conviction, adverse orders under Section 138 Negotiable Instruments Act proceedings and many fold other orders which according to his admission seem to be drowning him now, the bench said.

It also noted the submission of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Premji and others that if an affidavit is filed in which the list of companies and litigation is also set forth and an appropriate apology tendered to the appellants for the past conduct, only then would he be in a position to discuss the matter with the appellants and obtain their instructions whether they are willing to give up the money claim against him almost on a ground of charity and his inability to pay.

The bench noted that Subramanian says that he will file an affidavit within a week and also undertakes to not argue any case against at least the appellants and to bring to the notice of all Courts, even if a matter is otherwise listed, of the orders passed by this court today as well as the stay orders which have been passed qua the present proceedings on December 18, 2020.

It said that the affidavit will undertake an apology for the past conduct including initiating these proceedings in different forums; an undertaking to withdraw all proceedings whether in this matter or otherwise initiated by him which are not in defence of claims in Subhiksha/Vishwapriya and an undertaking for the future not to launch any proceedings and undertaking to wind up this organization and not to create any more organization nor to use his brilliance and help of other people to create further litigation.

On October 5, last year, the top court had extended the stay on criminal proceedings against Premji, his wife, and others on their plea seeking quashing of summons issued by a Bengaluru court on a "frivolous" and "mischievous" complaint filed by an NGO alleging breach of trust and corruption in the merger of three companies with a Premji group firm.

The apex court had earlier issued notice to an NGO, Indian Awake for Transparency, and others and sought their response.

Premji and others have challenged the high court order of May 15, last year which had rejected their pleas for quashing of the January 27, last year summons issued by the trial court.

The summons was issued by the trial court based on a complaint filed by India Awake for Transparency alleging illegality in the transfer of assets worth Rs 45,000 crore from three companies into a private trust and a newly formed company.