Delhi High Court rejects Future Group's plea on ending arbitration proceedings with Amazon before SIAC
The Kishore Biyani-led company said it meant enforcing of rights in contravention of the Competition Act, 2002
The Delhi High Court has dismissed the plea moved by the Future Group challenging an order passed by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) rejecting its plea seeking termination of the arbitration proceedings with e-commerce giant Amazon.
The bench comprising Justice C Hari Shankar clarified that the court had not expressed any opinion on merits and controversy between the parties. The arbitration proceedings may continue uninfluenced by any of the findings or contentions raised.
Future Group had moved the court In October arguing there was a "stark abdication of jurisdiction" by the arbitral tribunal, which relegated all issues to a final hearing despite the Supreme Court order to "pass the orders" on the termination applications. The plea stated that the tribunal acted in a "pre-determined manner."
The plea further read, "This approach has rendered the hearings on the termination applications an exercise in redundancy. It is the same arguments and pleadings, which will be regurgitated in the final hearing putting the petitioners to considerable prejudice in terms of cost and time."
Future Group sought quashing of the impugned order pleading that if immediate relief was not granted, it would be forced to continue participating in the arbitration proceedings. It claimed that it was based on agreements that were "non-est in law."
The plea added, "This apart, to continue these arbitration proceedings would be to perpetuate an illegality and allow for the enforcing of rights in direct contravention of the Competition Act, 2002."
Even as the order was reserved in Future's plea, in November, Amazon moved an application before the Supreme Court seeking interim relief and allowing proceedings to restart before the arbitral tribunal.
A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud had then expressed concern that Future Group was trying to defeat its order and intending to stall the proceedings before the tribunal.