Delhi HC dismisses Future Retail's plea against Amazon

Delhi High Court declines plea to restrain Amazon from interfering in RIL-Future Retail deal

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) on October 25 had passed an interim order in favour of Amazon

Kishore Biyani, Jeff Bezos and Mukesh Ambani. Credit: DH Collage

The Delhi High Court on Monday refused a plea by Future Retail company to stop Amazon from interfering into its Rs 27,513-crore deal with Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd.

The HC also declined to grant an interim injunction against Amazon from writing to the SEBI, Competition Commission of India and other authorities about the arbitral order against its asset sale.

Also read — The Retail Saga: Future-RIL vs Amazon battle explained

Justice Mukta Gupta passed the order as the FRL claimed that Amazon writing to authorities about the emergency arbitrator's award amounts to interfering with the Rs 24,713 crore Reliance-Future deal. 

"The present application is disposed off. However, the statutory authorities/regulators are directed to take the decision on the applications /objections in accordance with the law," the court said. 

It said that while FRL had made out a prima facie case for grant of interim injunction, the balance of convenience lies in favour of both Future Retail and Amazon, and whether any irreparable loss would be caused to either side, has to be determined during trial of the suit or by a competent forum. 

The court said another reason why it did not grant an interim injunction was that both FRL and Amazon have already made their representations and counter representations to the statutory authorities or regulators.

"Now, it is for the statutory authorities/regulators to take a decision thereon," it said.

In its 132-page judgement, the court said the FRL's suit to permanently restrain Amazon from interfering with the deal was maintainable, while the emergency arbitrator award was not without legal jurisdiction and Future Retail's August 29 board resolution approving the deal with Reliance was not void. 

It further held that Amazon's representations to statutory authorities were "based on incorrect assertions" which meant that its action was based on "unlawful means" and therefore, FRL has made out a prima facie case of tortious interference, intentionally damaging someone's contractual or business relationships with a third party. 

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) on October 25 had passed an interim order in favour of Amazon barring FRL from taking any step to dispose of or encumber its assets or issuing any securities to secure any funding from a restricted party. 

Amazon, afterwards, wrote to market regulator SEBI, stock exchanges and the Competition Commission of India, urging them to take into consideration the Singapore arbitrator's interim decision as it is a binding order.