Six days after the Company Law Board’s (CLB’s) Chennai bench stayed the move to divest family members of Kasturi and Sons Ltd (KSL) from senior editorial management positions in The Hindu, its editor-in-chief N Ram challenged the order in the Madras high court. He alleged that the quasi-judicial body had made a series of errors in staying the April 18 board resolutions of KSL, promoters of the third largest English daily in the country.
This was opposed by advocates of N Ravi, editor of The Hindu and Ram's younger brother, who had filed a petition with the CLB on May 10, challenging the board decision.
When the vacation judge sought clarifications from Ram's lawyers, they asked for more time. The judge posted the case for June 14, but the case is yet to be admitted.
Referring to the CLB stay that also put on hold the appointment of Siddharth Varadarajan, currently the daily’s national bureau chief, as his successor, Ram said in his petition the CLB had “failed to appreciate that the grievances placed before it were personal in nature”. Ram said in the past KSL family disputes had affected the company’s performance, hence the resolution to bring in professionals from outside the family. He also said the CLB failed to appreciate that Varadarajan was suitably qualified for the job.
On May 20, CLB bench member Lizamma Augustine had said: “I am of the prima facie view that except 'the wholesale removal of the family editors' the present proposals do not take into account any other aspect. The board has not addressed the aspects (retirement, entry and exit norms, etc) referred to in my earlier order.” Hours after the CLB interim order, shareholders ratified the board’s decision at an extraordinary general meeting.