Supreme Court on Thursday came forward to resolve a dispute between Amazon.com.Inc and its former partner Future Retail Ltd.The two partners agreed to settle their legal battle over sales of Future Retail Ltd’s assets to Reliance Industries through informal dialogue.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said that it was a good sign if both the parties involved in the matter have decided to amicably settle the issue through discussion.
Senior Advocate, Gopal Subramanian, appearing for Amazon said that the company has always believed that there can be other resolutions to the matter.
“I’m presenting a solution. Throughout we have always been willing to have a dialogue, a conversation. There can be other resolutions to a matter. Is it not a whirlpool? Facing one statutory authority barely because we went through an arbitration. Let us put our hands together and find a solution.”
He also proposed to end the legal battle as the business houses are facing legal battles at various fora.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve who appeared for the Future Group submitted that, if Amazon wants to settle the matter than they have to come down to talk.
“Amazon gods will have to come down to talk to us mortals. If Amazon wants to have a conversation, what is preventing its boss from calling up Biyanis (Future Group Chairman Kishore Biyani)?”
CJI said, “We are not here to advice anybody. If you (Salve) are stating yourself that nobody is winning the battle, it’s better to resolve”.If you want to settle things then we are the first one who will say, yes you can do, added CJI.
“We can’t hear the matter until the tribunal comes on conclusion. What we feel is, some solution, in place of all these cases, you want to have some dialogue with other party, some type of mediation. If you want to settle these things amicably we are the first one who will say, yes you can do”.
Justices Hima Kohli and AS Bopanna question Salve, instead of telling them to pick up the phone and call, why can’t you set up a meeting between yourself.
Salve said, “as far as conversations are concerned, there are three giant business houses. It can be resolved, it would be in the interest of everybody. We will convey this to our respective clients.”
CJI Ramana told that for the next 10 days, the Delhi High Court, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) will not pass any orders and will give time to both the parties. The matter will now be heard on March 15, 2022.
According to Amazon, Future Group had allegedly violated a contract of partnership when it agreed to sell the assets to Reliance, in response, Amazon secured an interim stay on the deal from a Singapore arbitration tribunal.The Future Group’s decision to sell Future’s retail assets to Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries created a tension between Amazon and Future Group.
Amazon is opposing the deal between Reliance and Future Group, because of its investment of ₹1,400 crores in Future Coupons, which is one of the promoters of Future Retail. This blocks asset sale to Amazon’s rivals.