New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that e-commerce major Amazon’s interim plea seeking preservation of Future Retail’s assets will be listed for hearing as early as possible.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana told senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, representing Amazon, that one of the judges, Justice Hima Kohli, was not available, therefore the matter could not be taken up on the date scheduled for hearing.
The Chief Justice said: “We have some difficulties in constituting the bench. My sister (Justice Hima Kohli) has some problems”.
“That is the reason… at least one partner (judge) should be there.”
Earlier, a bench comprising the Chief Justice, Justice A.S. Bopanna, and Justice Kohli had scheduled the Amazon’s application for hearing on March 23. This combination of judges has been hearing the matters connected with the Amazon-Future dispute.
As Subramanium urged the top court to take up the matter on April 1, the Chief Justice said Justice Kohli may join the bench by that time. “I will list it as early as possible, subject to the availability of the bench,” he said.
Amazon had filed an application raising the issue of Future Retail’s shops and assets being taken over by Reliance, besides resumption of arbitration over FRL’s merger deal with Reliance Retail.
The bench had asked Future Retail and Future Coupons Ltd (FCPL) to respond to Amazon’s interim plea and scheduled the matter for hearing on March 23.
On March 16, taking note of Amazon’s 370-page application, the bench said it was not possible to pass orders on interim relief the same day, as it required some time to examine the document.
Counsel representing the Future Group agreed on resuming the arbitration proceedings, however, Amazon’s counsel insisted on interim relief, even if the hearing in the tribunal were to resume.
Earlier this month, Amazon alleged that 80 per cent of shops were surrendered to Reliance but Future Retail maintained that no asset has been transferred.
The top court was hearing Amazon’s challenge against Delhi High Court’s order to stay further arbitration proceedings with the Future Group before the Singapore Arbitration Tribunal.