Delhi HC: Arbitration Act (Part I) doesn’t provide for Emergency Award

Whether Arbitration Agreement will be Invalidated on Unpaid Stamp Duty of Substantive Contract

On Thursday, (19 November 2020), Senior Advocate Darius Khambata has argued before the Delhi High Court stating that Part I of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 does not provide for an Emergency Arbitrator and his award, relying on the provisions of Part I of the Act and the related Case-Laws.

During the course of the hearing, the counsel Khambata has stated that “On a plain reading of Part I, it is crystal clear that our law does not permit a person to act as an Emergency Arbitrator for an India-seated arbitration and grant relief. Only a court under Section 9 can do it.”

Asserting that the Emergency Award passed against Future Group was of no consequence. Advocate Khambata has submitted that the award has no legal status since the Emergency Arbitrator had no jurisdiction and there is no need to appeal against it.

Appearing for Future Retail (FRL), khambata has admitted that the Emergency Award was non-est since the Arbitration is India-based and any reliance on it before the Court or the statutory regulators was an unlawful interference with FRL’s business.

And in response to Amazon’s claim, an interim relief could be granted by the Emergency Arbitrator under the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) Rules because the parties had agreed to it. Further, there was no question of acquiescence while participating in the Emergency Arbitration under protest, he said.

While hearing, Senior Advocate Harish Salve concluded his rejoinder arguments on behalf of Future Retail (FRL) today.

Before the Competition Commission of India, Advocate Salve has reiterated that “Amazon had claimed that it was investing only in the business of Future Coupons Pvt Ltd which is a shareholder of Future Retail (FRL), and was not acquiring any interest or control in FRL.

“FRL is a public listed company…Amazon cannot object…I’m saying that they’re misrepresenting that I’ve allowed this East India Company (Amazon) to take charge over me…”, Salve remarked.

Further, Salve added that;

Why would you (Amazon) say that I shouldn’t do business? If all these shops (run by FRL) close down, you will go to Amazon…Why does law prevent sale of goods cheaply? You will run all competitors to the ground. Later, you will milk the situation…idea is that competition remains.”

However, Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium will respond to these submissions today (i.e., 20.11.2020).