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Amazon got an “operation successful, patient dead” verdict ⁠— Lawyers say the Delhi High Court order is actually a win for Kishore Biyani and Future Group

Dec 21, 2020, 20:24 IST
Business Insider India
  • The Delhi High Court has rejected Future Retail's plea for an ad interim injunction against the global e-commerce giant Amazon.
  • However, the order also said that prima facie Future Retail's resolution approving the Reliance deal was also valid.
  • Amazon had sent a legal notice to Future Coupons over Future Group’s ₹25,000 crore deal with Reliance.
Reliance Industries agreed to buy Future Group but Amazon objected. The Jeff Bezos-led company already got an order from a Singapore arbitrator stopping the deal between Mukesh Ambani and Kishore Biyani from progressing.

In response, Future Group went to the Delhi High Court seeking it to stop the global e-commerce giant from interfering in the deal between. What the court said in its verdict is a case of “operation successful but patient dead”, said Hitesh Jain, Managing Partner at Parinam Law Associates.

The court said that Amazon is free to challenge the deal and the spokesperson chose to highlight that part. “We welcome the verdict of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi rejecting the interim injunction sought by Future Retail and their claim that the Emergency Arbitrator process is invalid under Indian law,” Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider.
The court wants authorities to decide based on the application from Amazon and the objections of Future Group, explained Supreme Court advocate Yamuna Natchiappan.

However, while allowing Amazon to appeal to other regulators like the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) or Competition Commission of India (CCI), the Delhi High Court in its order said that there prima facie, the suit filed by Future Retail is maintainable, Emergency Award is valid and Future Retail's resolution approving the Reliance deal was also valid.

What’s worse for Amazon? The Delhi High Court has essentially ruled that Amazon cannot use an agreement with one Future group company i.e. Future Coupon to exert control over a deal struck by another company i.e. Future Retail. That would be in violation of India’s Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Not just that, the court went further to say, that this “amounts to tortious interference.”

And, that alone tilts the case in favour of Biyani. “If there is a prima facie case then balance of convenience follows the party who has the prima facie case,” according to Jain.

Based on this verdict, Jain believes, Future group can move the Supreme Court against Amazon.

Whether it will or not, is yet to be seen. As far as the resolution which Amazon sought to challenge which is the 29th August board resolution that resolution has been held to be valid and therefore there can’t be any interference in relation to the scheme, Future Retail’s legal representative Ameet Naik told ET NOW.

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