SC Orders Amazon, Future to Relocate Singapore Arbitration Court


Proposed ₹24,500 crore deal with Reliance for reopening arbitration in futures dispute

Proposed ₹24,500 crore deal with Reliance for reopening arbitration in futures dispute

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Amazon and Future to order the arbitral tribunal led by the Singapore International Arbitration Center to resume arbitration in a dispute over Future’s proposed 24,500-crore deal with Reliance.

A three-judge panel led by the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana overturned a January order by a divisional panel of the Delhi High Court staying the arbitral tribunal.

“The parties will apply to the arbitral tribunal to resume arbitration, understanding that the arbitral tribunal may hear FRLs [Future Retail Limited] Termination request and termination requests of the respondents [Future group companies] under Section 32(2)(c) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, takes precedence over other matters and makes orders,” the Supreme Court directed.

Section 32(2)(c) states: “The arbitral tribunal shall order the termination of the arbitration if the arbitral tribunal determines that the continuation of the arbitration has otherwise become unnecessary or impossible.”

“I hope I don’t have to hear this matter again during my tenure,” Chief Justice Ramana noted while handling the case.

On April 4, the court ordered the companies to file a letter of intent after both agreed to proceed with proceedings before the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC).

In March, Amazon and Future agreed prima facie to the court’s proposal to appeal to the court for a retrial.

failure of talks

The proposal to return to the tribunal came after talks on an amicable settlement of the dispute had failed.

Amazon and Future also agreed in March that they could even ask the court to hear and decide the termination motions as a matter of priority under Section 32 of the Act.

“This whole dispute began because our Section 32 request for termination of the arbitration was not included at the material time in January. If the tribunal can now accept our application in April, then all these proceedings can come to an end,” said Future’s lead attorney Mukul Rohatgi.

“The sooner we file the application, the better,” lead attorney Gopal Subramaniam had filed for Amazon.

Consequently, in the previous hearing on April 4, the court had asked both parties to prepare the joint memo.

“It is stated and agreed by both parties that they wish to appear before the Singapore International Arbitration Center and request that the proceedings, pending a decision before it, be expedited on the issues agreed between them,” the Supreme Court noted in its ruling order by April 4 while listing the case for disposal on Wednesday.

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