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SC: Future Retail should respond to Amazon plea
The Supreme Court Monday sought responses from Future Retail Ltd (FRL) and others on Amazon’s plea against the Delhi High Court direction staying its single judge order to maintain status quo on the Future-Reliance amalgamation deal.
The apex court said the proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) will go on and but will not culminate into any final order on amalgamation of FRL with Reliance.
A bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai issued notices to FRL, Chairperson Kishore Biyani and others and sought their replies.
The reply be filed in three weeks and a rejoinder to it after two weeks thereafter, the bench said, adding that the appeal will be listed for hearing after five weeks.
The Delhi High Court on February 8 had stayed its single judge direction to FRL and various statutory authorities to maintain status quo with regard to the Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail.
The interim direction was passed on FRL’s appeal challenging the February 2 order of the single judge.
The HC bench had also declined Amazon’s request to keep its order in abeyance for a week so that it can explore appropriate remedies.
Amazon had first filed a plea before the single judge for enforcement of the October 25, 2020 Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) restraining FRL from going ahead with its Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail.
In the interim order, the high court had said it was staying the single judge order as firstly, FRL was not a party to the share subscription agreement (SSA) between Amazon and Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL) and the US e-commerce giant was not a party to the deal between FRL and Reliance Retail.
The bench further said it was of the prima facie view that the share holding agreement (SHA) between FRL and FCPL, the SSA between FCPL and Amazon and the deal between FRL and Reliance Retail “are different” and “therefore, the group of companies doctrine cannot be invoked.”
Another reason given by the court for its interim order was that there was prima facie no reason to seek a status quo order before the single judge.
The bench said there were a lot of contentious issues involved in the matter and it was not going to adjudicate on them at this stage.