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No option but to restrain FRL-Reliance deal: Delhi HC

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 17, 2021

Says March 18 order will be implemented if there is no SC stay by Sept 17 hearing

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday told Future Retail Ltd that, unless it gets a stay from the Supreme Court, the Court will implement the single-judge order restraining the ₹24,713-crore deal to sell its retail business to Reliance Retail.

The Court’s response came on submission by Future Coupons Pvt Ltd and other related parties who contended that a Special Leave Petition had been filed in the Supreme Court against the March 18 order by Justice JR Midha attaching assets of Future Coupons, Future Retail, Future Group promoter Kishore Biyani and show cause notice for civil arrest of Biyani and other directors of the Future Group. Justice Midha had also imposed a cost of ₹20 lakh on Future Retail and its promoters for raising an untenable plea of nullity against the Emergency Award and the cost was directed to be deposited in the PMCare Fund.

‘No option but to enforce’

Hearing Amazon’s plea on Tuesday for enforcement of the award by Singapore’s Emergency Arbitrator (EA) restraining FRL from going ahead with the deal, Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said that in the absence of any stay from the Apex Court, he has no option but to enforce the order.

“Either get a stay within 2-3 weeks on the March 18 order or comply with it. This court has no third option,” the judge said. Listing the matter for September 17, the court said: “I make it clear that if before the next date of hearing the respondents fail to get any stay order, this court shall proceed with the matter for implementation.”

‘Enforceable in India’

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for Amazon, argued that in view of the Supreme Court’s decision, Justice Midha’s order was effective and has to be complied with. The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Amazon and held that the Emergency Award passed by Singapore arbitrator stalling FRL-Reliance deal was enforceable under Indian law.

Senior advocate Parag Tripathi, representing Future Coupons and other related parties, said his clients have filed a special leave petition against the March 18 order before the Supreme Court. Senior advocate Darius Khambata, representing FRL, said that his client has moved an application before the arbitration tribunal and will also file an appeal before the Apex Court.

Considering that the March 18 order on the legality of the emergency award was upheld by the Supreme Court on August 6, his clients still had time till August 20 to comply with the directions in terms of the order, he added.

“Simply filing an SLP will not help you. You get the order of stay. I have only one option ie to get the order implemented,” the court observed.

Published on August 17, 2021

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