Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Amazon, Future agree to resolve dispute amicably, Supreme Court adjourns matter for 10 days

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The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed with the contentions of Amazon and Future to resolve the dispute amicably amongst themselves through an informal dialogue and adjourn the matter for 10 days.

When the matter was presented before the court, Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana asked how much time the NCLAT would take to decide the appeal.

Senior Advocate Gopal Subramonium submitted before the Bench headed by the CJI that it’s a never ending litigation and proposed to hold a dialogue with other party, Future Retail.

CJI- We can’t hear the matter until the tribunal comes on conclusion. What we feel is, some solution, in place of all these cases, you want to have some dialogue with other party, some type of mediation. If you want to settle these things amicably we are the first one who will say, yes you can do.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve for Future Retail – You (Amazon) first start the arbitration proceedings, then we went to the High Court. What stops Amazon to call up Mr Biyani to have conversations.

Whoever is running the show, this Amazon Boss, can call Mr Biyani. I must tell that Nobody is winning in this… whether is Amazon, Future, Reliance…

CJI- We are not here to advice anybody. If you are stating yourself that nobody is winning the battle, it’s better to resolve

Justice AS Bopanna to Harish Salve- Instead of telling them to pic up the phone and call, why can’t you set up a meeting between yourself.

CJI- Now Mr Salve, he wants some time for mediation. You have to take a call. If you want early hearing before the tribunal, we can give.

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CJI- if you want to argue on merits, you can do that.

Salve- As far as conversations are concerned, there are three giant business houses. It can be resolved, it would be in the interest of everybody. We will convey this to our respective clients.

CJI- We will allow Delhi High Court to continue with the proceedings, but not to pass any order. We will have this matter after two weeks.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi for Future Coupons- there is no way the hearing would end in four weeks. And the judgment would come after that. I am assuring Milords. We are assuring Milord that NCLT, NCLAT and Delhi HC, we will not press for any orders till the next date of hearing.

Senior Counsel Gopal Subramonium- My submission, is that ultimately a Judge is a Judge, please pass some orders today.

Salve- I am only saying one thing, when Mr Rohatgi is assuring then why there is a need for passing any order.

CJI- We have taken into submission that proceedings before the Delhi HC, NCLT and NCLAT is going on and will take some time. Gopal Subramanium submitted that for informal talk, he needs some time. For the next 10 days, the Delhi High Court, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) will not pass any orders. The matter will now be heard on March 15, 2022.

On January 5, 2022, a Division Bench of Delhi High Court stayed the arbitration proceedings between Amazon and Future.

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The Supreme Court was seized of the petition filed by Amazon, challenging the Delhi High Court order, which had stayed further proceedings before the Arbitral Tribunal in Amazon NV Investment Holdings LLC vs Future Coupons Private Limited, SIAC Arbitration of 2020.

Previously, the Supreme Court had asked NCLAT to expeditiously hear the appeal by E-commerce major Amazon challenging the order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that suspended the over-two-year-old approval for its deal with Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL).

In December, the fair trade regulator had suspended the 2019 approval for Amazon’s deal to acquire a 49-per cent stake in Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL), FRL’s promoter, while slapping a penalty of Rs 202 crore on the e-commerce major.

On last hearing, the Bench led by the CJI NV Ramana has opined it it would be easier to decide the dispute relating to Amazon’s objection to Rs 25,000 crore FRL-Reliance deal. Amazon and Future group agreed to request NCLAT for expeditious decision on appeal against CCI order.

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