Amazon-FRL spat: SC rules in favour of Amazon, stalls Future’s Rs 24,713 cr retail deal

New Delhi : E-commerce major Amazon secured a major relief from the Supreme Court on Friday in the dispute against the proposed Rs 24,713-crore merger deal between Future Retail Ltd. (FRL) and Reliance Retail.

The bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and BR Gavai asserted that arbitration restraining Future Group’s deal with Reliance Industries was valid and enforceable under Indian laws.

“We have framed two questions and answered them as Emergency Arbitrator’s (EA) award holds good and can be enforced under Section 17(2). Appeal is allowed,” the bench said.

Also, the apex court has upheld the earlier order of the single bench of the Delhi High Court which had ruled in favour of the EA award that directed attachment of the properties and restrained FRL from going ahead with the Rs 24,713-crore merger with Reliance Retail.

On July 29, the top court had reserved the case for judgment after marathon virtual hearings for almost a week.

One of the questions highlighted in the case concerns the validity and enforceability of the order of Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), which restrained FRL from going ahead with its deal with Reliance Retail, under the Indian laws.

Amazon has been seeking enforcement of an order of the emergency arbitrator at the SIAC restraining FRL from taking any steps to transfer its retail assets.

In the high-profile and long-running dispute, Future Retail’s counsel Harish Salve had argued that the EA award did not have any place in the Indian statute books.