The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will list to hear “as early as possible” Amazon’s major e-commerce interim appeal seeking the preservation of Future Retail Limited’s (FRL) assets in addition to the resumption of arbitration over a merger agreement with Reliance Retail.
A panel led by chief justice NV Ramana, who previously set Amazon’s appeal for a hearing on March 23, told senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, representing the U.S. firm, that one of the judges, Judge Hima Kohli, was not present and therefore the hearing cannot take place on the appointed date.
A panel of judges led by Chief Justice NV Ramana, of which U.S. Justice Bopanna and Justice Kohli are part of, has heard matters related to the Amazon-Future dispute.
“We had a bit of a hard time forming a panel. My sister (Judge Hima Kohli) had some problems. That’s why … at least one partner (judge) needs to be there,” the chief justice said.
Mr Subramanium then urged the court to hear the matter on April 1.
“I think at that point he (Justice Kohli) might come. He has some problems. I will list them as early as possible, subject to court availability,” the chief justice said, adding instead, a separate court would be set to hear the case.
Earlier, Amazon had arrested the “lost” assets and obtained an interim order from the superior court to ensure the preservation of Future Retail Limited’s assets in addition to resuming arbitration over the FRL’s merger agreement with Reliance Retail.
The court has taken note of the U.S. firm’s allegations that “applecart is being frustrated” by its competitors and asked the group firm Future, FRL and Future Coupons Limited (FCPL), to answer Amazon’s interim appeal and correct the hearing on March 23rd.
Amazon and Future Group is embroiled in a multi-forum litigation over the issue of a Rs 24,500 crore FRL merger agreement with Reliance Retail Limited after the US e-commerce giant dragged them to arbitration at the Singapore International Arbitration Center in October 2020.
Amazon has alleged that on March 3, as many as 600 FRL stores were taken over by Reliance.
The confession was vehemently denied by Future group lawyers on Tuesday.
The supreme court was told by Amazon that in addition to asking for the arbitration proceedings to be resumed, it wanted an order that FRL’s assets be available to it if it won the arbitration because “applecart is upset”.
The court is hearing Amazon’s appeal against the Delhi High Court’s January 5 order, which adjourned arbitration proceedings before an arbitral tribunal in relation to Future Retail’s merger agreement with Reliance Retail.