SC to deliver judgement in Amazon-FRL case on August 6

Krishnadas Rajagopal NEW DELHI | Updated on August 05, 2021

The key highlight of the case is the question of enforcement and validity of the Singapore-based Emergency Arbitrator award.

The Supreme Court will deliver its judgment in a petition filed by e-commerce giant Amazon on Friday against the proposed ₹24,713-crore merger deal between Future Retail Limited and Reliance Retail.

A Bench of Justices Rohinton F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai reserved the case for judgment on July 29 after marathon virtual court hearings for nearly a week.

Read also: Apex court holds judgment on Amazon’s plea against Future Retail-Reliance deal


One of the questions highlighted in the case is regarding the validity and enforceability of a Singapore-based Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award, which restrained Future Retail Limited from going ahead with its deal with Reliance Retail under the Indian laws.

The court has made it clear that it would decide whether the EA's decision could be accepted and enforced as an interim award by an arbitral tribunal under Section 17 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, for Future Retail, said the EA award does not have any place in the Indian statute books. He said the award of the Singapore EA cannot be enforced under Section 17 of the Arbitration Act. Arbitral awards are enforced under the Civil Procedure Code and not under the arbitration law, he submitted. Amazon has, in turn, argued that EA award binds the Future Group.

On February 22, the apex court had allowed the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) proceedings in connection with the proposed deal to go on even as it directed the Tribunal to refrain from passing any "final order of sanction of the scheme". The same day had also seen the apex court issue formal notice on Amazon's petition seeking a stay of a February 8 Delhi HC order, which revoked an earlier Single Judge Bench direction to Future Group to maintain 'status quo' on the sale of its retail assets to Reliance Industries.

Amazon, represented by senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, had said the February 8 order was "ex-facie arbitrary and illegal". It was passed by a Division Bench of the High Court on an appeal filed by Future Retail Limited (FRL).

Published on August 05, 2021

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