In a relief to Future group companies, the Supreme Court on Monday set aside Delhi High Court order, which initiated coercive steps against the firm and its promoters for alleged violation of the emergency award (EA) passed by the Singapore Arbitration Tribunal.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana set aside the orders passed by the single bench of the high court, ordering coercive steps against Future group, and also the order passed in October last year, where the high court refused to stay the tribunal’s refusal to vacate the EA, restraining Future deal with Reliance. The top court has asked the high court to decide all matters on merits afresh.
On January 11, the Future Group submitted before the Supreme Court that Future Retail Ltd. will sink with its 30,000 employees, if it’s over Rs 24,000 crore with Reliance Retail fails to reach fruition. Senior advocates Harish Salve and K.V. Viswanathan represented Future in the top court. After hearing detailed arguments, the top court on January 11 reserved the judgment.
Salve submitted that the company is in a precious financial situation due to the Covid pandemic, and if its deal with Reliance is obstructed, then 30,000 employees may lose their jobs. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Future Coupons, submitted the assets of the promoters of the Future Group are hypothecated, and if the deal with Reliance fails to go through then everybody will sink, pointing at thousands of employees.
The Future Coupons and Future Retail have moved the top court challenging the Delhi High Court’s single bench March 2021 order, directing attachment of assets of Future group companies and its promoters for breach of Emergency Award by Singapore Tribunal. Both sides have so far filed several cases at various forums, which include the apex court, Delhi High Court, and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).
In 2020, Amazon invoked arbitration after Future Retail announced its asset sale deal with Reliance Industries Ltd wholly owned subsidiary, Reliance Retail.
In December last year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had imposed a penalty of Rs 202 crore on Amazon and suspended its approval for the e-tailer’s deal with Future Coupons, a promoter firm of the group’s public listed company Future Retail Ltd, seeking more information. The US e-commerce giant has challenged the CCI order at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).