Amazon vs Future: SC asks Future not to proceed with sale of retail assets to Reliance till next hearing

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will hear on November 23, the Future group plea against Amazon NV Investment Holdings, over former's sale of retail assets to the Reliance group.

Photo courtesy: IANS
Photo courtesy: IANS
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IANS

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will hear on November 23, the Future group plea against Amazon NV Investment Holdings, over the former's sale of retail assets to the Reliance group. The top court orally asked the Future group to not proceed with the matter at any other forum till the top court finally hears the case.

Justice Hima Kohli, part of a three-judge headed by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana hearing the matter, said she and her family members hold shares in Reliance group companies and offered to recuse, if any party or counsel had objections to her being on the bench.

Counsel representing parties in the matter said they had no objection to Justice Kohli hearing the matter. During the hearing, the bench orally asked the Future group to not proceed with the matter at any other forum till the top court finally hears the case and scheduled the matter for further hearing on November 23.

On September 9, 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 Rs 24,731 crore merger with Reliance Retail.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana had then said: "We think it fit to balance the interest of both the parties by staying all further proceedings before the Delhi High Court for the time being. Ordered accordingly. We further direct to all the authorities, i.e., NCLT, CCI and SEBI not to pass any final order for a period of four weeks from today. This order has been passed with the consent of both the parties."

On September 3, the Supreme Court had said it will give a date on Future Retail Ltd's (FRL) fresh appeal challenging the Delhi High Court order, which asked it to implement its earlier direction restraining the firm from going ahead with its Rs 24,731 crore merger with Reliance Retail.

Senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi sought early hearing on the appeal as the High Court would go ahead with the enforcement of the EA's award, if stay is not granted in its favour by the apex court.

On August 17, the high court asked the FRL to implement the earlier single-judge bench order restraining it from going ahead with the deal. The high court passed the order while e-commerce giant Amazon, seeking enforcement of the award by Singapore's EA, restrained FRL from going ahead with the deal.


In the absence of stay from the top court, the high court had noted that it had no option but to enforce the order passed by its single judge on March 18.

In March, a single judge bench of the high court besides restraining FRL from going ahead with its deal with Reliance Retail, had imposed costs of Rs 20 lakh on the Future Group and others associated with it. The judge had also ordered attachment of their properties.

The top court, on August 6, delivered a judgment favouring Amazon by upholding Singapore EA's award, restraining the Rs 24,731 crore FRL-Reliance Retail merger deal as valid and enforceable under Indian arbitration laws.

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