The Supreme Court on Thursday (July 8, 2021) adjourned till July 20, 2021 it’s hearing on a petition filed by American e-commerce firm Amazon against Kishore Biyan promoted- Future Groups after it was informed about an arbitration proceeding between the two companies at the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC) from Monday.
“Next week we all will be busy before the tribunal”, Future Group’s lawyer Harish Salve told the court suggesting the arguments in the ongoing case between Future and Amazon may not be concluded in one afternoon on Thursday.
The Apex Court was hearing an appeal of e-commerce giant Amazon challenging the Delhi High Court’s decision to stay an order upholding an emergency arbitrator award restraining Future Retail Limited from going ahead with its Rs. 24,731 crore assets deal with Reliance Retail.
“Friday is reserved for miscellaneous cases in the apex court. If it doesn’t finish today then My Lord, Your Lordship will accommodate us next week.”
Salve suggested that the court rather heard the case once the arbitration in Singapore International Arbitration Center is concluded next week.
Amazon’s lawyer Gopal Subramanian said he would “no difficulty” in deferring the hearing even as he said he could also finish his submissions on Thursday afternoon.
The Bench posted the matter for hearing on July 20.
The Singapore International Arbitration Center will hear Amazon’s plea over Future Group’s Rs. 24, 173 crore deal with Reliance Industries Limited. By an interim emergency award on October 25, the Singapore International Arbitration Center restrained Reliance Industries Ltd. and the Future Group from going ahead with the deal.
On March 22, 2021, a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh of the Delhi High Court had stayed a March 18 order of Justice JR Midha ordering attachment of the assets of Future Coupons Private Limited (FCPL), Future Retail Limited (FRL), Kishore Biyani, and 10 other promoters.
Amazon has been seeking enforcement of an order of the emergency arbitrator (EA) at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) restraining Future Retail Limited from taking any steps to transfer its retail assets.
Amazon has a 49% stake in Future Coupons Private Limited, which in turn owns 9.82% in Future Retail Limited. Amazon contends that it has invested Rs. 1,431 crores in FCPL on the clear understanding that FRL would be the sole vehicle for its retail business and its retail assets would not be alienated without consent and never to a ‘Restricted Person’.
FRL, on the other hand, has objected to the enforcement of the EA award saying that is not an order under Section 17(1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and hence not enforceable in India.
FRL has contended that Rs. 24,731 crore deal was very important to save its 25,000 employees. It said that as per the deal, Reliance will not only take over FRL’s shops but all its liabilities.