In a significant win for Amazon.com Inc., the Delhi High Court has upheld the Emergency Arbitrator’s award the U.S. e-commerce giant had won against Future Retail Ltd.
A single judge bench of Justice JR Midha has imposed a Rs 20 lakh penalty on Future Group entities. The court has issued notice to Kishore Biyani and others and have asked them to be present in the court for the next date of hearing on April 20.
Responding to the ruling, a Future Group spokesperson said:
“Today’s Delhi High Court order of single judge has no bearing on the status quo of the case since it’s already in the Supreme Court, where the next hearing is expected to be in the last week of April 2021. In the meanwhile as per Hon’ble Supreme Court’s interim order dated Feb. 22, 2021, NCLT is allowed to continue its proceedings but same shall not culminate in any final order of the sanction of the scheme.”
In October last year, the Emergency Arbitrator constituted under the Singapore International Arbitration Centre Rules, had passed an interim award in favour of Amazon. The Emergency Arbitrator had directed Future Retail to put on hold its transaction with Reliance Retail.
Subsequently, Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC approached the Delhi High Court and sought the recognition and enforcement of the emergency arbitrator’s order under section 17(2) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The provision allows a party to seek enforcement of an interim order passed by an arbitral tribunal in the same manner as it would for a court order.
The high court bench of Justice Midha heard the arguments and reserved its judgment last month. In the interim, it passed a status-quo order which put on hold the transaction between Reliance Retail Ltd. and Future Group.
This interim order was appealed in front of a division bench of the Delhi High Court headed by Chief Justice DN Patel which vacated the interim order of status quo.
The appeal against that order is currently pending in the Supreme Court. Last month, the apex court directed the National Company Law Tribunal to continue hearing the case but not give a final nod till further orders. Future Group had sought NCLT’s nod to hold shareholders’ meeting and seek their approval for consolidation of its entities—the first step in its ultimate sale to Reliance Retail. BloombergQuint