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Delhi High Court to hear Amazon, Future Group case on March 3

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The Delhi High Court will continue to hear the dispute between e-commerce giant Amazon and Kishore Biyani’s Future Group on March 3.

The Court of Justice C. Hari Shankar is seized of a batch of cases pertaining to the tussle between Amazon and Future Group.

Referring to the order passed by Justice Mukta Gupta on December 21, 2020, former Solicitor General and Senior Advocate Harish Salve, representing Future Retail Limited (FRL), continued making his submissions on Monday. He argued that the arbitral tribunal’s decision upholding the award passed by the Emergency Arbitrator is contrary to the observations of the single judge.

Furthermore, he challenged the impleadment of FRL in arbitration proceedings on the ground that there is no arbitration agreement between FRL and Amazon, a prima facie view expressed by Justice Gupta.

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He submitted that contention of Amazon that since it has 49 percent stake in Future Coupons Private Limited (FCPL), which indirectly translates into an investment in FRL, is flawed inasmuch as the conflation of FRL’s Share Holder Agreement with FCPL and that of FCPL’s SHA with Amazon resulting in creation of control of Amazon over FRL is in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-Debt Instruments) Rules, 2019 (FEMA FDI Rules).

He contended that the single-judge opined that the FRL’s Board Resolution dated August 29, 2020, with regard to its deal with Reliance is neither void nor contrary to any statutory provisions. “Anything said to the contrary by a Tribunal will not prevail over this,” he stressed arguing that a Tribunal has to defer to the prima facie view expressed by an Indian court.

He added:

“Let a message go out clearly. Where courts are concerned, it is not for the tribunal to second guess supervising courts or any court for that matter. However junior a judge, he has the imprimatur of Indian Law. A tribunal can’t jump over them.”

At this point, Justice Hari Shankar remarked thus: “What I think one of the things you’re trying to say is that when deciding inter alia whether the NCLT proceedings etc., should go on, I have to go by the view taken by this Court rather than the view taken by the Tribunal.” To this, Salve responded in the affirmative.

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The Supreme Court on February 15 allowed FRL to approach the Delhi High Court seeking approval to resume proceedings for its deal with Reliance India Limited before the National Company Law Tribunal beyond the stage of meeting of shareholders and creditors.

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