Industry

Supreme Court to rule on Amazon-FRL spat today

The Supreme Court will deliver on Friday its judgment in a petition filed by e-commerce major Amazon, against the proposed ₹24,713-crore merger deal between Future Retail Ltd. (FRL) and Reliance Retail.

A Bench of Justices Rohinton F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai reserved the case for judgment on July 29 after marathon virtual hearings for almost a week.

One of the questions highlighted in the case concerns the validity and enforceability of a Singapore-based Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award, which restrained FRL from going ahead with its deal with Reliance Retail, under the Indian laws.

The court has made it clear that it would decide on whether the EA’s decision could be accepted and enforced as an interim award by an arbitral tribunal under Section 17 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, for Future Retail, said the EA award did not have any place in the Indian statute books. The senior lawyer said the award of the Singapore EA could not be enforced under Section 17 of the Arbitration Act. Arbitral awards were enforced under the Civil Procedure Code and not under the arbitration law, he contended. Amazon, in turn, argued that the Future Group was bound by the EA award.

On February 22, the apex court had allowed the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) proceedings in connection with the proposed deal to go on even as it directed the Tribunal to refrain from passing any “final order of sanction of the scheme”. The apex court had also on the same day issued formal notice on Amazon’s plea seeking a stay of a February 8 Delhi HC order, which had revoked an earlier Single Judge Bench’s direction to the Future Group to maintain ‘status quo’ on the sale of its retail assets to Reliance.

Amazon, represented by senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, had argued that the February 8 order was “ex-facie arbitrary and illegal”. It was passed by a Division Bench of the High Court on an appeal filed by FRL.


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 10:42:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/sc-to-rule-on-amazon-frl-spat-today/article35753470.ece

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