Future-RIL deal: Arbitral award is valid, binding: Amazon to HC

By: |
November 12, 2020 5:45 AM

Senior counsel AM Singhvi, appearing for Reliance Retail, argued that the content of award was not required to be contested here.

During the hearing, the judge told the Amazon lawyer that it can't decide on legality of the award if it's not contested.During the hearing, the judge told the Amazon lawyer that it can't decide on legality of the award if it's not contested.

Seeking dismissal of the Future Retail’s (FRL) petition for restraining Amazon from approaching regulatory bodies like the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to stall the Future group’s transaction with Reliance Retail, the e-commerce firm on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that the Singapore International Arbitration Centre’s (SIAC) award is valid and legal as all the parties had agreed to arbitration.

Opposing FRL’s stand that the emergency arbitrator’s award was persuasive and not binding, senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, appearing for Amazon, told the bench of Justice Mukta Gupta that an award was not a waste paper and was final and binding. “The emergency arbitrator had prima facie held that FRL breached the terms of contract and the Future group’s petition was not maintainable. The arbitrator found no violation of the FDI rules. Even without emergency award, my client could go to the statutory authorities. Why was there the need of emergency award? We wanted to go by the letter of the arbitration agreement. To call something nullity, there’s some illegality. But here notice is given to the other party. They agreed to the proceedings,” Subramanium said.

He added that the interim award is enforceable like any court order as per Indian law.

During the hearing, the judge told the Amazon lawyer that it can’t decide on legality of the award if it’s not contested.

Senior counsel AM Singhvi, appearing for Reliance Retail, argued that the content of award was not required to be contested here.

On Tuesday, senior counsel Harish Salve, on behalf of FRL, had objected to Amazon’s communication with regulatory bodies. “I want Amazon to stop writing letters asserting that my transactional is illegal. Please don’t interfere with my contract,” Salve had submitted before the single judge bench. “Amazon has various falsehoods. One of which is that they didn’t know about it will September 2020. They knew about it in June,” Salve had added.

The court will resume hearing on Thursday to hear Salve’s rejoinder to Amazon’s stand.

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