New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgement in the Amazon-Future-Reliance case and will decide whether Singapore’s Emergency Arbitrator Award restraining Future Retail Ltd (FRL) from going ahead with its merger deal with Reliance Retail is valid under Indian law and if it can be enforced.
A Bench headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman after hearing arguments of all parties in the case reserved its verdict.
US-based e-commerce giant Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC, and FRL are embroiled in a legal fight over FRL’s Rs 24,713 crore merger deal with Reliance Retail.
Earlier, the Bench had stayed further proceedings before Single Judge and Division Bench of Delhi High Court in the Amazon-Future-Reliance case.
The top court was hearing an appeal of e-commerce giant Amazon challenging Delhi High Court’s decision to stay an order upholding an emergency arbitrator award restraining Future Retail Limited (FRL) from going ahead with its Rs 24,731 crore assets sale deal with Reliance Retail.
On March 22, a Division Bench of High Court Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh had stayed a March 18 order of Justice JR Midha ordering attachment of the assets of Future Coupons Private Limited (FCPL), 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 FRL from taking any steps to transfer its retail assets.
Amazon has a 49 per cent stake in FCPL, which in turn owns a 9.82 per cent stake in FRL. Amazon’s contention is that it has invested Rs.1431 crore 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 it is not an order under Section 17(1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and hence not enforceable in India.
FRL has contended that the Rs 24,731 crore deal was very important to save its 25,000 employees. It had said that as per the deal, Reliance will not only take over FRL’s shops but also all its liabilities.