Reliance scores Supreme Court win in battle over Future Group

Apex court halts seizure of assets owned by Future Retail, Future Coupons and their directors

Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani. Amazon dragged Future Group to arbitration, arguing that Future Retail had violated their contract by entering into the deal with rival Reliance | File Photo: PTI

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed all proceedings before the Delhi High Court for four weeks related to implementation of an award by Singapore’s emergency arbitrator (EA) restraining Future Retail Ltd from going ahead with its 24,731 crore merger deal with Reliance Retail. 

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice A S Bopanna, in a consent order, also directed statutory authorities like National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Competition Commission of India (CCI) and market regulator SEBI not to pass any final order related to the merger deal for the next four weeks. The SC will hear the matter again after four weeks.

Also read: Future Group is the loser in Amazon’s spat with Reliance

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It considered the statements of senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Future Retail and Future Coupons Private Ltd, respectively, that the arbitrator has reserved the final verdict in the case after hearing both sides. 

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for American e-commerce giant Amazon, which has challenged the merger, said that it was not interested in any punitive action against Future Retail, Future Coupons and their directors, and consented to passing of the order staying the proceedings before the Delhi HC. 

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Future Retail and Future Coupons have moved the top court against the HC order of August 17, which said that it would implement the earlier order by its single-judge restraining Future Retail from going ahead with the deal in pursuance of the EA’s award. The HC had also ordered attachment of properties. 

Amazon dragged Future Group to arbitration at Singapore International Arbitration Centre in October last year, arguing that Future Retail had violated their contract by entering into the deal with rival Reliance. On August 6, the Supreme Court gave the verdict in favour of Amazon and held that the Singapore EA’s award, restraining the 24,731 crore Future Retail-Reliance Retail merger deal, is valid and enforceable under the Indian arbitration laws.

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