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Future-Reliance deal: Future Retail challenges Delhi High Court stay

Future Retail Limited today has challenged the order passed by Single Judge bench yesterday directing it to maintain status quo on its Rs 24, 713 crore deal.

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Future Retail Limited has challenged the order passed by a single-judge Delhi High Court bench yesterday directing it to maintain status quo on its Rs 24, 713 crore-deal with Reliance that has been objected to by e-commerce giant Amazon.

In an urgent mentioning by Senior Counsel Darius Khambata for the Future Retail Limited before the bench of the Chief Justice, he urged to hear the matter on Wednesday itself. The bench agreed to hear the matter tomorrow. 

Yesterday, Justice J.R. Midha directed Future Retail Limited to maintain the status quo regarding its deal with Reliance.

The bench was hearing the petition filed by Amazon seeking the enforcement of the Emergency Award, restraining Future Group from going ahead with its deal with Reliance stating the order passed by the Emergency Arbitrator “shall be deemed to be an order of the Court for all purposes and shall be enforceable under the Code of Civil Procedure.”

The Court in its order noted, that this Court is of the prima facie view that the Emergency Arbitrator is an Arbitrator; the Emergency Arbitrator has rightly proceeded against the respondent No.2.”

The bench noted that the Amazon has invested Rs 1,431 crore…

on the clear understanding that respondent No.2 would be the sole vehicle for its retail business and its retail assets would not be alienated without Petitioner’s consent and never to a Restricted Person, including the Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani Group (“MDA Group”) and respondents No.3 to 13 would continue to remain the controlling shareholders of respondent No.2.”

“The respondents do not dispute that the agreements contain clauses restricting them from transferring the retail assets to the Restricted Person. However, the respondents have taken various steps/actions to transfer the retail assets to the restricted person, namely, MDA Group in violation of the order dated 25th October 2020 and they are continuing with it,” the single judge further observed.

The single-judge bench was of the view that the order dated October 25 is appealable under Section 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. This Court is of the clear view that the order dated October 25 is enforceable as an order of this Court under Section 17(2) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. The detailed reasons shall be given in the reserved order.

The bench while directing the respondents to maintain status quo till the pronouncement of the order noted,

“This Court is satisfied that immediate orders are necessary to protect the rights of the petitioner till the pronouncement of the reserved order.”

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The bench has also directed the respondents to file an affidavit placing the action taken by them after October 25, 2020 on record. The bench further directed all the respondents to maintain status quo with respect to all matters in violation of the order dated October 25, 2020 and shall file the status report with respect to the present status within 10 days of the receipt of this order, however, other prayers of Amazon will be considered in the reserved order.

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