Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

Suketu Mehta

Bombay is the most cosmopolitan city in India. It is also the home of the Parsis of India.

Recently, Bombay saw a titanic court battle between two rich and famous Parsi families. The issues explored by the Indian Supreme Court concerned all aspects of the director’s duties, shareholder oppression, and mismanagement. Judgment was delivered on 26 March 2021 in favour of the Tata family. A petition for review has been filed.

The Tata family is a prominent family. They are related to the Petit Baronetcy family. Both are extremely wealthy Parsi families based in Bombay, now called Mumbai. Several years ago, I went to the Bombay Prac conference and recall the warm hospitality of our Parsi host firm.

By reason of the marriage of the beautiful heiress Ruttie Petit to Mohd Ali Jinnah, both families are also related to the Jinnah family. There are two recent biographies on her to those interested.
Cyrus Mistry also came from an extremely wealthy Parsi family based in Bombay. His wife is the granddaughter of MC Chagla, Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.

Judge MC Chagla is famous for his autobiography called Roses in December, where he wrote of his experiences working under Mohd Ali Jinnah in his Chambers. He said he learned a lot, but Jinnah was a cold boss. This autobiography is available on the Internet as a free pdf.

Cyrus Mistry was anointed as the successor to Shri Ratan Tata as Executive Chairman of Tata Sons Limited. The mentor was unhappy with the protege. Ratan Tata removed Cyrus Mistry as Executive Chairman. This resulted in this court saga.

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