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An Amazon logo is seen at its centre in Darlington, County Durham, Britain September 3, 2020. REUTERS/Lee Smith/Files (REUTERS)
An Amazon logo is seen at its centre in Darlington, County Durham, Britain September 3, 2020. REUTERS/Lee Smith/Files (REUTERS)

Arbitral award by SIAC is valid and legal: Amazon to Delhi HC

  • Amazon contended that all the parties had agreed to arbitration before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the arbitral award passed is valid and legal

Amazon on Wednesday opposed Future Retail Ltd’s (FRL’s) plea before Delhi high court seeking to restrain the e-commerce platform from approaching regulatory bodies such as the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) against its transaction with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

Amazon contended that all the parties had agreed to arbitration before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the arbitral award passed is valid and legal. Future Retail has contended before the court that the arbitral award is not binding and is just persuasive in nature.

The dispute relates to Future’s sale of its retail, wholesale and warehousing assets to Mukesh Ambani’s RIL for 24,713 crore. Amazon, which owns a 5% indirect stake in Future Retail, has contested the sale in the Singapore court, claiming that its 2019 investment agreement bars Future Group from selling its assets to RIL.

The Singapore court had on 25 October restrained Future from selling its assets to RIL.

Amazon concluded its submissions before the high court on Wednesday. The court will on Thursday hear arguments by FRL.

Amazon’s counsel, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, explained in detail about the validity of the arbitral award passed by SIAC and stated that FRL’s petition is not maintainable. “After finding a prima facie case, he (the arbitrator) passed the directions. The arbitrator found no violation of foreign direct investment (FDI) rules. Even without emergency award, my client could go to the statutory authorities. Why was there the need of emergency award? We wanted to go by the letter of the arbitration agreement. To call something nullity, there’s some illegality. But here notice is given to the other party. They agreed to the proceedings," he said.

The emergency arbitrator held that prima facie FRL has breached the terms of contract and its petition is not maintainable, Subramanium said.

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