The Delhi High Court today stayed the Single Judge order directing attachment of Future Group companies and Kishore Biyani’s properties in connection with Amazon’s plea for enforcement of the Emergency Award against the former’s deal with Reliance.
Issuing notice in Future’s appeal against the Single Judge order, a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh said,
“We hereby stay the single judge order dated March 18, 2021 till next date of hearing.”
A request for stay was made by counsel for Future, Senior Advocate Harish Salve.
Emphasising that the Court had granted a stay even on the ad-interim order passed by the Single Judge, which was not stayed by the Supreme Court in appeal, Salve stated,
“There’s a finding of breach. This has gone much beyond .. we were under the impression that the Single Judge would get reasons (for prima facie order..Supreme court in SLP has directed that all these (NCLT) hearings can go on .. this Court’s order has not been stayed. Single Judge’s order has to be stayed.”
Senior Advocate Iqbal Chagla, for Future, also argued in favour of grant of a stay on Single Judge order in view of the Supreme Court’s hearing on April 27.
Senior Advocate Gopal Subramaniam for Amazon, on the other hand, submitted that it was only right that the Single Judge’s matter be brought to the attention of the Supreme Court for further directions.
“Since matter is presently before Surpreme Court. the matter is now listed on April 27. We will not do anything which is inconsistent with the Supreme Court order..Whatever order has been passed, it is implied that it is subject to Supreme Court order.“, he argued.
Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar vehemently objected to the maintainability of the appeals.
After hearing the parties, the Court decided to stay the Single Judge Order.
The matter would be heard next on April 30.
In the order under challenge, a Single Judge Bench of Justice JR Midha had inter alia held that Future Retail, Future Coupons, Kishore Biyani and other promoters, directors violated the Emergency Award.
Directing Future Group to not take any further action in furtherance of the deal with Reliance and to also pursue recall of favourable orders passed by statutory authorities, the Single Judge had held that the Emergency Arbitrator had rightly invoked the ‘Group of Company’ doctrine in relation to the Future Group companies.
Finding the Future Group companies and its directors, promoter to be in deliberate and wilful violation of the Emergency Award, the Single Judge also issued a show-cause notice to Biyani and other promoters, directors of Future Group companies, asking why they should not be detained in civil prison for a term not exceeding three months.
Significantly, the Court also held that combining/treating all the agreements between Amazon-Future Coupons Ltd and Future Coupons-Future Retail as a “single integrated transaction” did not amount to control of Amazon exercising control over FRL and therefore, would not be in violation of any law.