Delhi HC Dismisses Future's Petition Seeking Termination of Arbitration Proceedings in Singapore
Moneylife Digital Team 04 January 2022
The Delhi High Court (HC) on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by Future Retail seeking a direction to declare as illegal the ongoing arbitration proceedings with Amazon in Singapore.
 
Justice Amit Bansal at the Delhi HC says that the filings were dismissed without giving any further details.
 
Citing an order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the company had approached the HC. In December last year, CCI had imposed a penalty of Rs202 crore on Amazon and suspended its approval for the e-tailer's deal with Future Coupons, seeking more information. 
 
Citing CCI's order, Future Retail had argued the 2019 deal, which Amazon had used to assert its rights over Future, has been suspended. Citing this deal, Amazon has blocked Future's attempt to sell retail assets to a rival, alleging breach of certain contracts. 
 
Both Amazon and Future Retail are fighting cases to either enforce or overrule certain decisions taken by the arbitrator.
 
In December, CCI said that Amazon ought to have notified the combination and Future Retail (FRL) shareholding agreement for acquisition of strategic rights over FRL through Future Coupons Private Ltd (FCPL) shareholders' agreement (SHA) as well as the commercial agreements between Amazon and Future groups, to establish strategic alignment and partnership between Amazon group and FRL as well as have a 'foot-in-the-door' in the India retail sector.
 
In the latest filing, Future Retail contended that the 2019 deal could not get the CCI's approval, therefore, it has no legal existence in the country, and the continuation of the entire arbitration proceedings is a perpetuation of illegality.
 
Amazon failed to notify FRL SHA and the commercial arrangements, as part of the combination between the parties, and suppressed the actual purpose and particulars of the combination, as discussed above, in contravention of the obligation contained in sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Companies Act read with Regulation 5 and sub-regulations (4) and (5) of Regulation 9 of the Combination Regulations, CCI had said.
 
CCI's order further added that, given that the combination is between players who are known in the online marketplace and offline retailing, and they have contemplated strategic alignment between their businesses, the Commission considers it necessary to examine the combination afresh, based on a notice to be given with true, correct and complete information, as required therein.
 
Earlier in November last year, independent directors of Future Retail wrote to CCI stating that the representations made by Amazon in the application to CCI for approval, were completely opposite and contradictory to their own internal correspondences and notes as submitted before the courts. (Read: Future Retail says Amazon misrepresented to CCI, seeks cancellation of FCPL deal
 
On 9 September 2021, the Supreme Court had stayed all proceedings before the Delhi High Court on Amazon's petition seeking enforcement of Singapore emergency arbitrator's (EA) award, which restrained the Future group from going ahead with its Rs24,731-crore merger with Reliance Retail.
 
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