RIL deal: Future Retail moves SC against Delhi HC order

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Updated: August 13, 2021 8:20 AM

The development follows last week’s Supreme Court’s order wherein Amazon scored a major victory with the apex court upholding the Singapore International Arbitration Centre’s emergency arbitrator (EA) award restraining FRL from going ahead with its deal with the Mukesh Ambani-led company.

Kishore BiyaniKishore Biyani and 15 others including FRL and FCPL have been embroiled in a series of litigations with Amazon, an investor in FCPL, over the deal with Reliance

Future Retail (FRL) on Thursday moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court’s single judge’s order which in February, on the plea of Amazon, had restrained it from going ahead with its Rs 24,713-crore merger deal with Reliance Retail.

The development follows last week’s Supreme Court’s order wherein Amazon scored a major victory with the apex court upholding the Singapore International Arbitration Centre’s emergency arbitrator (EA) award restraining FRL from going ahead with its deal with the Mukesh Ambani-led company. The SC said an award of an EA is enforceable under the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

It also revived the single judge’s order that had also held FRL group chairman Kishore Biyani and others guilty for going ahead with the deal and had issued showcause notice to him and other directors of the Future Group as to why they should not be sent to prison, as sought by Amazon.

Besides, the single judge had also directed the FRL to approach regulatory authorities to recall all approvals granted to the Future-Reliance Retail deal and to deposit Rs 20 lakh as cost for violating the Singapore’s EA’s interim stay order of October 25, 2020. The judge had also asked for attaching the assets of Biyani and other directors and had asked them to appear before it.

Challenging the single judge’s February 2 and March 18 order, the FRL said in view of the SC’s last week’s judgment, “it is clear that the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 has no place in the enforcement or appeal mechanism from orders passed under Section 17 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act.

FRL and other related firms said they were not provided any effective or actual opportunity to file any response to the enforcement petition filed by Amazon to explain as to whether they had complied with or flouted the EAO. Besides, the single judge “commenced final hearing of the enforcement petition on the first day of hearing itself,” it stated.

It further said the SJ’s directions were not only beyond the EA’s order but also beyond the reliefs sought by Amazon in its enforcement plea. “The impugned order goes way beyond the reliefs granted under the EAO, in not only providing extensions of the relief of the EA but also castigates the petitioners (Biyanis and the Future group companies) for having flouted the said order when no response was even called for by the Petitioner to explain as to whether the Petitioner had in fact, flouted the said order.”

The EA award was passed in October 2020 following which Amazon had sought its enforceability by restraining FRL from going ahead with the transaction. FRL will also wait for the final order of SIAC which concluded hearings last month.

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