Win for Amazon: SC upholds Singapore panel’s ruling against Reliance-Future Retail deal – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In a setback to the proposed Rs 24,713-crore Future-Reliance deal, the Supreme Court on Friday held that Singapore’s Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award restraining Future Retail Ltd (FRL) from going ahead with its merger with Reliance Retail is valid and enforceable and allowed the plea of US ecommerce giant Amazon, which had challenged the Ambani-Biyani pact.
A bench of Justices R F Nariman and B R Gavai quashed the order passed by a division bench of the Delhi high court, which virtually allowed Kishore Biyani’s Future group to go ahead with the deal by staying the single bench order that had directed the group to maintain status quo in view of Singapore’s EA award.
The SC bench also ruled that the order passed by the single bench of the HC for the enforcement of the Singapore arbitration award was not appealable and could not have been challenged. The bench framed two questions arising out of the corporate battle for adjudication- first whether an award of Emergency Arbitrator under the Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre can be deemed to be an order under the Arbitration Act, and second, whether an order passed for enforcement of the award by a single judge of the HC can be appealed. The SC passed verdict in favour of Amazon on both counts.
“We, therefore, answer the first question by declaring that full party autonomy is given by the Arbitration Act to have a dispute decided in accordance with institutional rules which can include Emergency Arbitrators delivering interim orders, described as ‘awards’. Such orders are an important step in aid of decongesting the civil courts and affording expeditious interim relief to the parties.

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