Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in India
The execution of the decrees and judgments in India are governed by the procedure as laid down in ‘The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908’ (CPC). Any Person who has obtained a decree from a court of law in a foreign country can approach an Indian court for enforcement of the said decree under the Civil Procedure Code. Under the Indian law there are two ways of enforcing a foreign judgment:-
I. Judgment from a reciprocating country
Judgments from Courts in “reciprocating territories” can be enforced directly by filing before an Indian Court an Execution Decree. A “reciprocating territory” is defined in Explanation 1 to Section 44A of India’s Civil Procedure Code as: “Any country or territory outside India which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare as a reciprocating territory.”
The reciprocating countries at present are United Kingdom, Aden, Fiji, Republic of Singapore, Federation of Malaya, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, the Cook Islands (including Niue) and the Trust Territories of Western Samoa, Hong Kong, Papua and New Guinea, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates. The above mentioned countries have an agreement with India to mutually enforcing court decrees and orders.
II. Judgment from non-reciprocating country
Judgments from “non-reciprocating territories,” can only be enforced by filing a law suit in an Indian Court for a Judgment based on the foreign judgment. The foreign judgment is considered evidentiary. The time limit to file such a law suit in India is within three years of the foreign judgment.
S.13 of CPC provides for conditions when foreign judgments would be conclusive
A foreign judgment shall be conclusive as to any matter thereby directly adjudicated upon, between the same parties or between parties under whom they or any of them claim litigating under the same title, except –
- where it has not been pronounced by a Court of competent jurisdiction;
- where it has not been given on the merits of the case;
- where it appears on the face of the proceedings to be founded on an incorrect view of international law or a refusal to recognise the law of India in cases in which such law is applicable;
- where the proceedings in which the judgment was contained are opposed to natural justice;
- where it has been obtained by fraud; and
- where it sustains a claim founded on a breach of any law in force in India.