Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Amazon-Future: Delhi HC to continue hearing plea challenging order against Future Group tomorrow

A divisional bench of the Chief Justice and Justice Jyoti Singh noted, "All These things were not presented before the Single Judge," while hearing the submissions made by the Senior Advocate Harish Salve appearing for the Future Retail.

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday heard Future Retail Ltd and Amazon at length on the plea filed by Future Retail Ltd challenging the order passed by single-judge directing it to maintain status quo on its Rs 24,713-crore deal with Reliance that has been earlier objected by Amazon.

A division bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh noted, “All these things were not presented before the Single Judge,” while hearing the submissions made by Senior Advocate Harish Salve appearing for Future Retail. The bench will continue hearing the matter on February 5.

Salve stated that Amazon entered into an agreement with Future Coupons limited running the business of loyalty coupons. To develop the business, developing the business of Future Coupons.

Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar appearing for the respondents submitted, “If Your Lordship hears the matter on maintainability, Your Lordship may save time.”

Salve continued his arguments added,

“That is where Reliance puts up- you sell us your shops, you sell your business. Where Reliance will take over all the shops and take over all the liabilities, 25000 people’s employment will be saved…This deal was done.”

Salve further submitted, “On behalf of FRL we argued, we had an agreement with FCPL and Biyanis. I don’t have any agreement with Amazon, that is why there is no arbitration. Amazon says I have an agreement with FCPL, FCPL has an agreement with FRL.” Whereas the single judge bench observed that these are single economic transactions I’ll consider all of them together, it becomes a single integrated transaction.

However, Salve contended,

“Interestingly, my suit simply was Amazon has no rights against me, if you merge the two agreements it’ll lead to illegality. Our submission that these two agreements cannot be merged was upheld. The Conclusion of the Single-Judge is directly contrary to the Arbitrator.”

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Salve added,

“Consequences for not staying this order would be an absolute disaster for my client. Yes, this is an ad interim order but the consequences of this are huge.”

Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for Amazon, while submitting his arguments stated, “Under the SIAC rule, an Emergency Arbitrator is the Arbitrator, in this case the Emergency Arbitrator V.K. Raja was appointed, sent out notices to the parties, invited pleadings and the order was passed after the hearing.”

Subramanium further contended,

“An Emergency Arbitrator is a valid arbitrator and even under the SIAC rules an order passed by the Emergency Arbitrator is binding and he infringed the order and even he didn’t challenged before the single judge, as of today there is no prayer challenging the order.”

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“Violation of this order over and over again, the order of Justice Mukta Gupta also doesn’t displace this order. The order was intact and I can rely on it, If they want to challenge the order of the Emergency Arbitrator then there are remedies in the law.”

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