Friday, April 19, 2024

Supreme Court issues notice on Amazon plea against Delhi HC order staying proceedings in Future Coupons case

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

A three-Judge Bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, and also comprising Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli, listed the matter for February 23 on the request of Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi.

The Delhi High Court Bench led by Chief Justice D.N. Patel on January 5, 2022 had stayed the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) arbitration proceedings in the Amazon-Future case and also stayed a single judge’s order, dismissing Future’s Group’s plea seeking direction to the arbitration tribunal to take a decision on its application for terminating the arbitration proceedings before moving further. The Amazon-Future group arbitration is going on between a three-member arbitration tribunal over the Kishore Biyani-led company deal with Reliance Retail (RRL) worth Rs 24,500 crore.

The HC also issued a notice to NV Investment Holdings LLC on the appeals filed by FRL and FCPL, challenging the single judge’s order.

In December 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) suspended Amazon’s 2019 deal with FCPL for its alleged deliberate design to suppress information about the scope and purpose of the deal. The competition watchdog also said in its order that Amazon. Com made false and incorrect statements while seeking approvals. In its order, CCI said it considered necessary to examine the combination afresh, given that both players were known in the online marketplace and offline retailing and had contemplated strategic alignment between their businesses. The antitrust regulator also imposed a penalty of Rs 200 crore on Amazon. Com to be paid within 60 days of receipt of the order. Amazon approached SIAC in October 2020 after Future Group’s deal with RRL as it cited a non-compete agreement with the Kishore Biyani-led company. The deal specified any disputes would be arbitrated under SIAC rules. The same month, Amazon got a favourable ruling for its plea in SIAC against the deal.

In November 2020, Future Group went to the Delhi HC against Amazon, alleging interference by Amazon in the deal. Since then, the Jeff Bezos-led e-commerce giant has been fighting a legal battle with FRL to stop Future Group’s deal with Reliance.

In August 2021, the Supreme Court (SC) had ruled in favour of Amazon, upholding the Singapore emergency arbitrator award against the Future-Reliance deal as enforceable in India. But in a major relief to Future Group, the SC stayed proceedings before the Delhi HC in September, ordering no coercive action. The court also directed the National Company Law Tribunal, CCI, and the Securities and Exchange Board of India to not pass any final order in relation to the dispute for four weeks.


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