Supreme Court
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court stayed all further proceedings before the Single Bench and Division Bench of the Delhi High Court on Monday in the Amazon-Future Group-Reliance case. According to LiveLaw, a legal news website, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, BR Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy passed the order in a special leave petition filed by Amazon.

The companies have been directed to complete their pleadings by then. The top court will hear the case on May 4, according to a report in Moneycontrol.

What is the case about

On April 14, Amazon had approached Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court order that stayed a single judge's order restraining Future Retail Ltd from going ahead with its Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail to sell its business.

"The company's advocates are in receipt of communication dated April 13, 2021, from advocates of Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC informing that Amazon has filed a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court of India against the captioned order dated March 22, 2021 passed by the Division Bench of the High Court of Delhi," Future Retail informed the stock exchanges.

Future Retail said it will "defend the matter/proceedings through our legal counsels".

On March 22, the Delhi High Court stayed a single judge's order restraining Future Retail Ltd (FRL) from going ahead with the deal with Reliance Retail to sell its business, which was objected to by US-based e-commerce giant Amazon.

A division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh also issued notice to Amazon on Future Group's appeal challenging the single judge's March 18 judgment on the deal by which all the objections raised by them were rejected.

"We hereby stay the order of the single judge dated March 18, 2021, till the next date of hearing," the bench said and listed the matter for further hearing on April 30.

It also stayed the single judge order to attach assets of Future Group's Kishore Biyani and others directing them to appear in the court on April 28. The bench stayed the single judge's direction imposing a cost of Rs 20 lakh on the Future Group as well as its directors, asking them to deposit it in Prime Minister's Relief Fund within two weeks for being used for providing COVID-19 vaccination to senior citizens of Below Poverty Line (BPL) category of Delhi.

The single judge's order had come on Amazon's plea seeking direction to order enforcement of the award by Singapore's Emergency Arbitrator's (EA) on October 25, 2020, restraining Future Retail from going ahead with its Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail.

Future Group-Amazon fracas

Future Group and Amazon have been locked in a battle after the US-based company took the former into an emergency arbitration over alleged breach of a contract between them.

In October 2020, Amazon dragged Future Group to arbitration at Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), arguing that Future violated the contract by entering into the deal with rival Reliance.

Amazon had invested in Future Coupons in August 2019 with an option of buying into the flagship Future Retail after a period of three to 10 years. In August last year, Future had reached an agreement to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing units to Reliance.

Future, India’s No.2 retailer with more than 1,700 stores, has been hit hard by the pandemic and agreed to sell most of its retail assets to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance in a $3.4 billion deal.

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