Future Retail challenges Delhi HC’s status quo order on RIL-FRL deal

08 Feb 2021


A day after the Delhi High Court upheld the Singapore arbitration court’s stay order in Future Group’s sale of its retail and wholesale assets to Reliance Retail, the Kishore Biyani-led Future Group moved a counter petition in the high court seeking vacation of the Delhi court’s order in favour of Amazon Inc.

Hearing in the petition started on Thursday with counsel for Amazon Gopal Subramanium arguing that the order of the arbitrator is deemed to be an order of the court and that 6he single judge order had specifically stated that it was not sitting in judgement over the Emergency Arbitration Order.
“This is an injunction against FRL and all other parties and all of them were injuncted from pursuing even an application,’ Subramanium added.
Future Group’s counsel Harish Salve, on the other had. Argued that there is a strong arguable case that if FRL goes bankrupt and if some bank takes FRL to IBC, who is going to care about Amazon. The consequences of this order are unimaginable, Salve said.
If the appeal is also dismissed and the single judge order is upheld and they enforce the award two single judges can't take two conflicting opinions, he said.
“The prima facie observation is that there is no arbitration agreement. The case is against Amazon. Get the observations set aside and then come for enforcement,” Salve said even as he reiterated that Emergency Arbitrator is not the Arbitral Tribunal.
Meanwhile, the twin strokes of the Delhi High Court stay on Future Group’s deal with Reliance Retail and market regulator Sebi’s decision to ban Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani and his brother Anil Biyani from the securities market is seen as having no impact on Future Group’s deal with Reliance Group.
In its order, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said, “Debarment/restraint/freeze imposed under this order shall not apply to those existing holding of securities of such debarred entities, in respect of which any scheme of arrangement under Section 230-232 of the Companies Act, 2013, is approved by NCLT, requiring extinguishment of such securities and/or receipt of other securities in lieu of such securities."
Kishore Biyani has been banned from accessing the securities market for a year by India’s market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India.
However, the company in a statement to the bourses has said the ban will not impact its Rs25,000 crore deal with Reliance.

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