[Amazon-Future Battle] Supreme Court Grants Stay On All Proceedings Before Delhi High Court Regarding Enforceability of Emergency Award
The Supreme Court (SC) has put a stay on proceedings before the Delhi High Court (HC) concerning the enforcement of the Emergency Award against Future Group's deal with Reliance.
The SC bench comprising of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Hrishikesh Roy, and BR Gavai received an appeal from Amazon wherein it challenged the order passed by a Division Bench of the HC that has put a stay on the order of the Single Judge directing the attachment of Future Group companies and Kishore Biyani's properties. The Top Court ordered that further proceedings before a single judge and Division Bench before the HC would stay.
On 22 March 2021, the division bench of the HC had stayed a single judge's order restraining Future Retail Ltd (FRL) from going ahead with the deal with Reliance Retail to sell its business, which was objected to by US-based e-commerce giant Amazon.
A division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh also issued notice to Amazon on Future Group's appeal challenging the single judge's judgment on the deal by which all the objections raised by them were rejected.
The Single Judge of the HC Justice JR Midha held that Future Retail, Future Coupons, Kishore Biyani, and other promoters, directors violated the Emergency Award. It also imposed costs of Rs 20 lakh on the Future Group companies, Biyani, and other respondent parties.
Justice Midha had also directed the Future Group to not take any further action in furtherance of the deal with Reliance, holding that the Emergency Arbitrator had rightly invoked the 'Group of Company' doctrine with the Future Group companies.
An appeal was filed by Future Group companies to the HC Division Bench and it had put a stay on the order of Justice Midha.
Amazon filed an appeal before the Top Court against the order of the HC division bench, it stated in its' appeal that the division bench had erroneously stayed a single-judge order directing status quo for the Future- Reliance deal.
It further contended that the HC Division Bench failed to appreciate that orders made under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act are appealable only if there exists a provision under the Act specifically providing for a right to appeal.
Amazon appeal reads, "Such jurisdiction could have been assumed only by the legal principles settled in a catena of judgments which have unequivocally held that an appeal is a creature of the statute and the right to appeal inheres in no one."
The SC put a stay on all the proceedings before the HC and listed the matter on 4 May 2021, for further hearing.