The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has rejected a plea by Future Group to terminate proceedings initiated by Amazon to end a deal between Future Retail (FRL) and Reliance Industries. SIAC ruled that it will continue with the arbitration proceedings.
Future had filed the petition citing an order from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that nullified the 2019 FRL-Amazon deal. Amazon had used the agreement to block the deal between Future and Reliance. Since the basis of Amazon’s objections have been declared illegal by the CCI, there was no need to proceed with the arbitration, Future Group had contended. However, SIAC said termination of Amazon’s right to pursue its claims now wont be denial of natural justice.
Future had also argued that since insolvency proceedings have been initiated against FRL, all other legal proceedings should be paused as per the IBC rules. However, SIAC said the NCLT has not imposed any moratorium yet, therefore there was “no legal or material barrier preventing the continuation of proceedings”. SIAC added that even if a moratorium is imposed, it will be applicable only to FRL and not to other group entities which are party to the ongoing arbitration proceedings.
In April, the Supreme Court had allowed arbitration proceedings before SIAC between Amazon and FRL. “Parties will approach the tribunal to resume arbitral proceedings and the tribunal will consider the termination application by FRL as under Section 32(2) (c) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, on priority and pass orders,” the bench had said. The top court also transferred the application by Amazon relating to restraining FRL from alienating its assets to the Delhi High Court.