Blow for future as Delhi HC dismisses plea to quash Amazon arbitration – World Affairs SRS

Blow for future as Delhi HC dismisses plea to quash Amazon arbitration

– World Affairs SRS

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed the petitions of Future Group, seeking a direction to the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC) – to adjudicate on Amazon’s objections against Future’s deal with Reliance – To decide on his application for termination of arbitration proceedings.

“The arbitration tribunal is not bound by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, or the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. This flexibility will also vest the discretion in the arbitral tribunal to decide how the proceedings are to be taken, including the order in which the parties shall be made. The applications filed are to be considered,” the High Court said in its order.

“For this Court to interfere in the above issues would be a violation of the autonomy vested in the arbitral tribunal,” it added.

According to legal sources, while dismissing Future’s petitions so quickly, the High Court has given paramount importance to the arbitration process and speedy measures. It also indicates that Amazon’s case for seeking remedy for default of contractual obligations is genuine, he said.

Sources said the cash-strapped Future Group may approach a higher forum to find a solution.

Email sent to Amazon did not elicit any response.

Ashish Kumar Singh, Managing Partner, Capstone Legal says business standard That the High Court had expressly held that procedural matters relating to the functioning of an arbitral tribunal were not liable to the jurisdiction of the court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. “The window to intervene in an arbitration proceeding is very limited and the court cannot direct the proceedings to an independently constituted tribunal,” Singh said.

In December 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) suspended Amazon’s 2019 deal with Future Coupons for its alleged deliberate design to suppress information about the scope and purpose of the deal.

In its order, the competition watchdog said it was necessary to re-examine the combination, noting that both the players were known to be in online marketplaces and offline retailing and considering the strategic alignment between their businesses. The antitrust regulator also imposed a fine of Rs 200 crore on Amazon within 60 days of receiving the order.

Amazon approached SIAC in October 2020 after Future Group’s deal with Reliance Retail cited a non-compete agreement with the Kishor Biyani-led chain. Any dispute specifying the deal shall be arbitrated under SIAC rules. That same month, Amazon received a favorable verdict for its petition at SIAC against the deal.

In November 2020, Future Group moved the Delhi High Court against Amazon, alleging interference by the US firm in the deal. Since then, Amazon has been fighting a legal battle with FRL to block Future’s $3.4 billion deal with Reliance.

In August 2021, the Supreme Court (SC) had ruled in favor of Amazon, upholding Singapore’s emergency arbitral award against the enforceable Future-Reliance deal in India. But in a major relief to Future Group, the SC stayed the proceedings before the Delhi HC in September, ordering no coercive action. The court also directed the National Company Law Tribunal, CCI and Securities and Exchange Board of India not to pass any final order regarding the dispute for four weeks.

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