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Execution of foreign judgment in India

By Shivendra Pratap Singh

According to section 2(6) of CPC, “foreign judgment” means the judgment of a foreign Court. The foreign court is defined under section 2(5) as “foreign Court” means a Court situate outside India and not established or continued by the authority of the Central Government.

A foreign judgment cannot be executed in India directly as Indian judgment. Under Indian law, there are two ways of getting a foreign judgment enforced. Firstly by filing an Execution Petition under Section 44 A of the CPC (in case the conditions specified therein are fulfilled) and secondly by filing a suit upon the foreign judgment/decree.

However, in both cases, the decree has to pass the test of Section 13 CPC which specifies certain exceptions under which the foreign judgment becomes inconclusive and is therefore not executable or enforceable in India.

Under Section 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 a foreign judgment becomes inconclusive and consequently unenforceable in the following circumstances:

  • 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 judgment was obtained are opposed to natural justice;
  • where it has been obtained by fraud;
  • where it sustains a claim founded on a breach of any law in force in India.

Therefore by getting a degree in the foreign Court, the plaintiff has only avoided the inconvenience of leading evidence in the Indian Courts.

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