US-based fast food major McDonald’s on Wednesday ruled out any settlement with its estranged Indian partner Vikram Bakshi for north and east regions before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). Subsequently, the NCLAT issued notices to both the parties over their cross petitions directing them to file replies, and posted the matter for the next hearing on September 21.
“Without going into the merit…we find that there is no chance of any settlement,” observed NCLAT Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya.
NCLAT was hearing the appeals filed by McDonald’s and Vikram Bakshi against each other.
“In the meantime, respective respondents may file a reply within a week and rejoinder a week there of,” the tribunal said.
NCLAT had last week asked both the parties to decide by today, whether they would consider settling dispute on their own or not.
During the proceedings, Counsel representing McDoanld’s questioned the conduct of Bakshi in running the JV firm, Connaught Plaza Restaurant Ltd (CPRL), which operated 169 outlets in north and east.
“Substantial sum of money has been siphoned off (from CPRL) in last weeks,” submitted senior advocate Rajiv Nayyar appearing on behalf of McDonald’s.
However, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Vikram Bakshi, said that they are ready to settle the matter but McDoanld’s is not.
“They have removed him (Bakshi) unilaterally and they are not prepared to settle the matter. We are ready for settlement,” said Singhvi.
This was countered by Sudipto Sarkar, counsel representing directors of McDonald’s and said that question of settlement does not arise because of Bakshi’s conducts.
“Settlement is not possible. Conduct of appellant (Bakshi) leaves much to be desired. (Like) insisting on board meeting despite court order,” he said.
McDonald’s had on August 21 terminated franchisee agreement for the 169 outlets in north and east, operated by CPRL.
As part of the termination, CPRL has ceased to use McDonalds’s name, system, trademark, designs and its associated intellectual property, among others within 15 days of the termination notice.
Last week, McDonald’s had moved the appellate tribunal challenging the orders of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) which has reinstated Bakshi as the Managing Director of the JV firm CPRL.
Bakshi was ousted from the post at the McDonald’s franchisee in August 2013, following which he approached the NCLT in September the same year. He has been at loggerheads with McDonald’s over management of CPRL.