The Delhi High Court today dismissed Future Retail’s plea to declare arbitration proceedings with its warring partner Amazon as illegal. Justice Amit Bansal of the Delhi High Court said the filings were dismissed, without giving any further details.
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The ruling came after Future urged the court that given India’s antitrust agency had suspended a 2019 deal used by Amazon to assert rights over Future, there was no legal basis for the arbitration between the two sides to continue.
As part of the deal between Amazon and Future Coupons, Future Retail would have been able to place its products on Amazon’s online marketplace.
Amazon and Future have been locked in legal battles for several months. The US company has successfully used the terms of its Rs 1,430 crore investment in a Future unit in 2019 to block the Indian retailer’s attempt to sell retail assets to rival Reliance Industries, alleging breach of certain contracts.
In December, the Competition Commission of India, or CCI, suspended its approval for Amazon’s deal to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Future Coupons Pvt Ltd, the promoter of Future Retail, and charged a Rs 202 crore fine on the e-tailer.
Appearing for Future Retail, senior advocate Harish Salve had said that the tribunal, which is scheduled to hear issues concerning damages from Wednesday to Friday, should first take up the termination application and defer the proceedings on other issues.
Senior advocates Gopal Subramanium and Amit Sibal, appearing for Amazon, had argued that there was no denial of equal treatment by the tribunal, which has scheduled the termination application for hearing on January 8, and contended that the tribunal has discretion to conduct its own proceedings.
Amazon is objecting to the sell-off plans, accusing Future Group of breaching its 2019 investment deal. Future Coupons was founded in 2008 and is engaged in the business of marketing and distribution of gift cards, loyalty cards and other reward programmes to corporate customers.
In October last year, the high court had declined to stay the arbitration tribunal order refusing to interfere with the Emergency Award, which restrained Future Group from going ahead with the deal with Reliance.
Several issues arising from the Amazon-Future legal battle are pending before the Supreme Court.
Future Group had first made the request for termination of the deal before a Singapore arbitration tribunal that is hearing the case but the request was not accommodated on an urgent basis by the tribunal, which then brought Future Group before the Delhi High Court.