McDonald’s moves SC against Delhi HC order in Bakshi case

By: | Published: April 23, 2016 6:23 AM

McDonald’s India on Friday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s interim orders that restrained the US food chain from pursuing the arbitration proceedings initiated against its estranged partner in India, Vikram Bakshi.

McDonald’s India on Friday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s interim orders that restrained the US food chain from pursuing the arbitration proceedings initiated against its estranged partner in India, Vikram Bakshi.

Bakshi got a stay order from the high court in December 2014 on the arbitration in the dispute that was scheduled to take place in London. The two parties are fighting for management control of the joint venture firm Connaught Plaza Restaurants (CPRPL), which has been running fast-food outlets in North and East India.

A bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar while seeking response from Bakshi, Bakshi Holdings and others stayed the proceedings before the Company Law Board (CLB).

Senior counsel Harish Salve told the court that while McDonald’s awaits the judgment from the division bench (DB) of the HC, which has reserved the decision in March 2015, Bakshi and his firm are attempting to render such arbitration proceedings “futile”.

He also said that the , the burger and fries chain has been “left remediless”.

“The petitioner (McDonald’s) is severely prejudiced by its inability to rely upon the arbitration agreement between the parties for over 15 months due to delay in the pronouncement of judgement in the appeal (before DB),” the US food major said in its petition, adding that it it will have to defend Bakshi’s new claims for buy-out of their shares in CPRPL on merits in the CLB, which may give rise to contention that it has waived its right to seek a resolution of disputes by arbitration.

According to the senior counsel, arbitration proceeding initaited by McDonald’s are separate and distinct from Bakshi’s claims in the company petition.

The interim order of the HC operates until disposal of the suit or alternatively until vacation of the CLB interim order of September 16, 2013 that directed McDonald’s and CPRPL to maintain status quo in respect of shareholding and board pattern in the company and a right of call option until its further order.

McDonald’s had terminated its equal joint venture with Bakshi on November 29, 2013. In a statement issued on August 30, 2013, McDonald’s said: “Vikram Bakshi has ceased to be the managing director of CPRL pursuant to expiration of Bakshi’s term on July 17.”

The move was challenged by Bakshi before CLB. Amidst the back and forth in CLB and HC, Bakshi offered to buy McDonald’s stake in the JV at the 2008 valuations. McDonald’s had rejected the offer. Bakshi had earlier rejected McDonald’s 2008 proposal to sell his stake for $5 million. It later raised the offer to $7 million. Bakshi refused to sell at such a valuation.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s had on November 28 terminated its joint venture agreement with Bakshi by sending a notice and moved the London Court of International Arbitration to settle the dispute.

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