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SC Rules in Favor of Amazon, Against Future Retail; Emergency Award Enforceable in Indian Law

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In a major victory for Amazon, the Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of the e-commerce giant in its dispute with Future Retail. The top court held that the emergency arbitrator award is enforceable in Indian law.

A bench headed by justice R.F. Nariman held that the emergency award passed under the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) rules can be enforced in India under Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

The top court said: “Emergency arbitrator’s award holds good under section 17(1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and single judge’s order for such award cannot be appealed under Section 17(2)”.

On July 29, the Supreme Court reserved the judgment on the pleas of e-commerce giant Amazon, challenging the Rs 24,713 crore deal for Future Retail Ltd (FRL) merger with Reliance Retail.

Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC and FRL have been locked in a bitter legal battle over the deal.

Amazon had argued that Singapore’s Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award, which restrained FRL from going ahead with the merger, was valid and enforceable. Amazon had moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court’s division bench order which gave a green signal to the Reliance-FRL deal.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing FRL, had contended there was no notion of EA under the Indian law on arbitration and conciliation. Also, there was no arbitration agreement to this effect. Salve emphasized that there was no provision for EA under Indian law.

On February 8, a Division Bench had stayed the single-judge direction to FRL and various statutory authorities to maintain the status quo on the deal.


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