In a big win for e-commerce giant Amazon, the Delhi High Court on Thursday upheld the Singapore Emergency Arbitrator’s order restraining Future Retail from going ahead with its Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail, PTI reported.
A bench of Justice JR Midha directed the Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail not to take further action on the deal. It held that the group had wilfully violated the Singapore Arbitrator’s order.
The High Court also imposed a penalty of Rs 20 lakh on Future , according to Bar and Bench. The money is to be donated to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for providing coronavirus vaccines to senior citizens of Below Poverty Line category.
Further, the court issued a show cause notice to Biyani and other executives associated with the company, asking why they should not be detained in civil prison. It asked Biyani and others to appear before the High Court on the next date of hearing in April.
It also directed the attachment of their properties, and ordered Biyani to file an affidavit detailing the properties and other assets owned by him.
The Future Group and Amazon have been locked in a battle after the US-based company took Biyani’s company into emergency arbitration over an alleged breach of a contract between them.
In October, the Emergency Arbitrator constituted under the Singapore International Arbitration Centre Rules, had passed an interim award in favour of Amazon, the Bloomberg Quint reported. The Emergency Arbitrator had directed Future Retail to put on hold its transaction with Reliance Retail.
Subsequently, Amazon approached the Delhi High Court, and sought the enforcement of the emergency arbitrator’s order under section 17(2) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The provision allows a party to seek enforcement of an interim order passed by an arbitral tribunal in the same manner as it would for a court order, according to the website.
In February, a High Court bench of Justice Midha had reserved its judgement on the matter. In the interim, it passed a status-quo order, which put the deal between Reliance and Future Group on hold.
The status quo was subsequently stayed by a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court, according to Bar and Bench. Amazon’s appeal against the stay order on status quo is currently pending before the Supreme Court.
Before Justice Midha, Amazon had argued that Future Group, Kishore Biyani as well as other promoters and directors were “deliberately and maliciously” disobeying the Emergency Award in spite of their participation in the arbitration proceedings.
Amazon asserted that Future Coupons, a shareholder in Future Group, could not have given its consent to the deal without its approval as Amazon holds 49% stake in the company.