Delhi high court quashes Future’s plea against Amazon – Times of India

Delhi high court quashes Future's plea against Amazon - Times of India


NEW DELHI: In a setback to Kishore Biyani’s Future Group, the Delhi high court on Tuesday dismissed pleas filed by Future Retail (FRL) and Future Coupons (FCPL) that sought to end arbitration proceedings with Amazon before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).
This gives a new lease of life to the US e-tailer’s efforts to block the asset sale by Future Group, which includes supermarket chain Big Bazaar, to Reliance Retail in a Rs 25,000-crore deal.
Justice Amit Bansal, who had reserved the order on January 3 on the petitions filed by the two Future companies, observed that it is not for the court to interfere with scheduling of arbitration proceedings.
Future Group had argued that there is no legal basis for the arbitration to continue as the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has suspended the FCPL deal with Amazon. Amazon, however, has legal options to appeal against the CCI order.
HC noted that the tribunal has already fixed January 8 as the date for hearing the termination application, after cutting short the scheduled four days’ hearing of the expert witnesses. “An adjournment at the last minute cannot be sought in respect of an international commercial arbitration of this magnitude, involving arbitrators, counsels and experts from different jurisdictions,” justice Bansal observed, adding that it found nothing wrong in the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal to not postpone hearings of the expert witnesses scheduled this month.
” Acceding to such a request for adjournment, is bound to derail the arbitration proceedings as it would be very inconvenient and cumbersome to schedule fresh dates for the arbitration proceedings, taking into account the availability of all arbitrators as well as the experts,” the court said.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for FCPL, had argued before the high court that the three-member arbitration tribunal acted perversely by not deciding the issue of termination of the ongoing arbitration on a priority basis.


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