Get A Stay Or Comply, Delhi High Court Tells Future Group
The Delhi High Court told Future Group to either get a stay from the Supreme Court or it will start hearing the issue of compliance with the emergency arbitrator's order.
Earlier this month, the top court had recognised the sanctity of the interim order of the emergency arbitrator. It set aside the stay granted to Future Group by the Delhi High Court's division bench against Justice JR Midha’s order.
In March, Justice Midha had found the emergency arbitrator’s order against Future Group to be valid and enforceable. He had asked Future Retail and its promoters to seek recall of regulatory approvals granted for the deal with Reliance Retail Ltd. in violation of the emergency arbitrator’s order.
Since Justice Midha has since retired, the matter came up for hearing before Justice SK Kait.
Counsels for Future Group informed the high court today that a special leave petition has been filed before Supreme Court and so the matter be heard at a later date.
But Amazon.com Inc. contested this on grounds that after the Supreme Court's judgment, Justice Midha's order has become effective and must be complied with. Future Group has not disclosed any compliance with Justice Midha’s order, Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium told the bench.
The high court bench decided to wait for the matter to come up at Supreme Court.
If they (Future Group) fail to get a stay from the Supreme Court, then the court shall proceed in the matter for compliance of the order dated March 18, 2021[Justice Midha's order].Justice SK Kait
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In October last year, the emergency arbitrator, constituted under the Singapore International Arbitration Centre Rules, had passed an interim award in favour of Amazon.
The emergency arbitrator had directed Future Retail to put on hold its Rs 27,513-crore transaction with Reliance Retail on grounds that it violated Amazon’s contractual rights borne out of an agreement to invest Rs 1,431 crore in Future Coupons Pvt. Ltd.
Subsequently, Amazon filed an application in the Delhi High Court, for enforcement of the emergency arbitrator’s order, which came up before the bench of Justice Midha. He had concluded that Future Group entities and promoter Biyanis had willfully violated the emergency arbitrator’s order. Rejecting objections raised by Future Group entities, the court awarded costs against them of Rs 20 lakh.
The court also passed the following directions:
Assets of Future Retail, Future Coupons, Kishore Biyani and others to be attached.
A show-cause notice was issued to Kishore Biyani and others. The court asked them to show cause why they should not be detained in civil prison.
The court directed that no further action in violation of the emergency arbitrator’s order should be taken.
The court directed that competent authorities to be approached for recall of the orders passed on their applications in violation of the emergency arbitrator’s order.
Against this, Future Group had approached the division bench of the high court which stayed the order of Justice Midha.
On Aug. 6, the Supreme Court set aside the division bench’s stay order. Post which, Future Group filed an SLP in the apex court which is yet to come up for hearing.
The high court on Tuesday posted the case after four weeks. The bench observed that if Future Group does not secure a stay order from the Supreme Court, then it will proceed with the compliance of Justice Midha’s order.