Amazon asks HC to declare SIAC's emergency arbitrator award akin to judicial orderNew Delhi, US e-commerce giant Amazon on Friday urged the Delhi High Court to declare that the Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) putting on hold Rs 24,713 crore deal between Future Retail Ltd‘s (FRL) and Reliance Retail was akin to an order of court and enforceable like any other judicial direction. The submission was made by Amazon before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh during the hearing of FRL’s plea challenging a single judge interim direction to maintain status quo regarding the deal.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for Amazon, said that when Parliament enacted the Arbitration and Conciliation Act it equated arbitral awards with that of orders of court.

He said that the high court should hold that the EA award of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) was akin to an order of the court for the sake of international and domestic arbitration.

Subramanium said that FRL wants the single judge to go behind the EA order which is not permissible and also cited several judgements in support of its contentions.

The arguments remained inconclusive and will continue on February 8.

Kishore Biyani-led FRL on Thursday had told the high court that Amazon was opposing the Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance as the Mukesh Ambani company was a competitor, a contention denied by the US-based e-commerce giant which said it was interested in salvaging FRL.

FRL had told the court that Amazon was not concerned that if the deal fell through then all the shops of the Indian company would be closed down and it’s more than 25,000 employees would be without any livelihood.

Refuting the allegations, Amazon, on Thursday, had told the bench that it was still interested in salvaging FRL and that its appeal against the single judge order of February 2 was not maintainable.

FRL, in its appeal, has claimed that if the February 2 order was not stayed it “would be an absolute disaster” for it as the proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for approving the amalgamation scheme have been put on hold.

FRL, in its appeal filed through law firm Naik and Naik and Company and advocate Harshvardhan Jha, has contended that the single judge’s status quo order will effectively derail the entire scheme which has been approved by statutory authorities in accordance with law.

The February 2 order had come on Amazon suit seeking enforcement of the EA order restraining FRL from going ahead with its Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail.

In its suit, Amazon has also sought to restrain Kishore Biyani-led Future Group from taking any steps to complete the transaction with entities that are a part of the Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani (MDA) Group.

Besides that Amazon has also sought detention of the Biyanis, directors of FCPL and FRL and other related parties in civil prison and attaching of their properties for alleged “wilful disobedience” of the EA order.

In August last, Future had reached an agreement to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing units to Reliance.

While reserving order on Amazon’s suit to enforce the EA order, Justice Midha directed all concerned authorities to maintain status quo in relation to the matters which are in violation of the arbitral award and to file status report with regard to the present status within 10 days. HMP RKS RKS

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