Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 16, allowed Amazon Inc to resume the proceedings in the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) pertaining to its ongoing dispute with Future over the latter’s proposed ₹24,713 crore asset sale deal with Reliance group.
This comes as the two parties could not reach a settlement since the negotiation talks failed. The top court has heard both parties and will now hear the matter on 23 March.
A division bench of Delhi high court had in January stayed the arbitration proceedings between Amazon and Future group before the international tribunal.
A bench led by Justice NV Ramana in Supreme Court asked both the parties that if they had no issues, the court could pass an order to resume the arbitration proceedings. Both Amazon and Future willingly agreed to it.
The arbitration proceedings were to be held in the first week of January. However, after the Delhi high court’s order, it has been on a halt for nearly two months.
The move will further prolong the already pending litigation between the two giants.
On Wednesday, the apex court had asked both the parties to file their replies in this regard.
The Supreme Court was informed on Tuesday that a possible mediation between Amazon and Future group over the latter’s ₹24,713 crores asset sale deal with Reliance group had failed to produce a favourable result.
Following which Amazon informed the court that Reliance has taken over nearly 500 stores operated by Future Group parent firm of hyper market chain Big Bazaar which is facing an acute financial crisis.
Reliance’s takeover began on the night of 25 February. Future – which has more than 1,700 outlets, including popular Big Bazaar stores – has been unable to make lease payments for some of its outlets. As a result, Reliance transferred the leases of some stores to its name and sublet them to Future to operate the stores.
Reliance has started to take possession of the premises in which Future Retail is operating its stores such as Big Bazaar and replaced them with its brand stores. It has also started to offer jobs to employees of Future Retail stores and bring them on Reliance Retail’s payroll. Currently only 300 stores are left with the Future Group.
Amazon has filed an interim application in this regard before the Supreme Court an order of status quo restraining any alienation or transfer of any kind, directly or indirectly, of the Retail Assets of FRL pending the final award in SIAC Arbitration.
The court, however, said if the tribunal hears the matter, the SC does not need to pass any interim relief.