The Supreme Court on Monday stayed proceedings before the Delhi High Court pertaining to the enforcement of the Emergency Award against Future Group’s deal with Reliance.
A Bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Hrishikesh Roy and BR Gavai granted stay after hearing an appeal by Amazon challenging the March 22 order passed by a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court staying the Single Judge order which had directed the attachment of Future Group companies and Kishore Biyani’s properties.
While directing stay, the Court listed the case for hearing on May 4, 2021.
“Further proceedings before single judge and Division Bench before Delhi High Court stayed. Matter to be heard on May 4. All pleadings to be completed by then,” the order said.
The Single Judge Bench of Justice JR Midha had held that Future Retail, Future Coupons, Kishore Biyani and other promoters, directors violated the Emergency Award. It also imposed costs of Rs 20 lakh on the Future Group companies, Biyani and other respondent parties.
Justice Midha had also directed Future Group to not take any further action in furtherance of the deal with Reliance, holding that the Emergency Arbitrator had rightly invoked the ‘Group of Company’ doctrine in relation to the Future Group companies.
Future Group companies then moved the Division Bench of Delhi High Court in appeal. The Division Bench subsequently stayed the Single Judge order.
Issuing notice in Future’s appeal against the single-judge order, a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh had said,
“We hereby stay the single judge order dated March 18, 2021 till next date of hearing…”
This prompted the present appeal by Amazon before top court.
Amazon in its appeal stated that the Division Bench erroneously placed reliance on another Division Bench order of March 18 which had stayed a single-judge order directing status quo with respect to the Future- Reliance deal.
Amazon contended that the observations contained in Division Bench order of March 18 only relates to Future Retail and not others.
Further, it was submitted that the Division Bench failed to appreciate that orders made under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act are appealable only if there exists a provision under the Act specifically providing for a right to appeal.
“It is trite law that if an order is passed under the Act, it is appealable only under the provisions of the Act and not under any other law,” the appeal said.
The appeal stated that the Division Bench erred in relying on the reasons mentioned in the Division Bench order of March 18 for assuming jurisdiction in the instant case.
“Such jurisdiction could have been assumed only in accordance with the legal principles settled in a catena of judgments which have unequivocally held that an appeal is a creature of the statute and the right to appeal inheres in no one,” said the appeal.
Amazon also submitted that the Division Bench, while issuing the interim order, ignored the settled principle that the Act is a complete code and if no appeals are provided against certain orders under Section 37 of the Act, an appeal is not maintainable by reference to provisions of any other law, including Code of Civil Procedure.