Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Foreign Judgement

 Foreign Judgement

A foreign judgement is defined under Section 2(6) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) as a decision of a foreign court. Section 2(5) of the CPC defines a foreign court as one that is located outside of India and is not constituted or operated by the Central Government. The CPC specifies the method for enforcing foreign judgments in India, requiring that the foreign court's judgement or decree be conclusive in character and that it be resolved on the merits of the matter by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The notion of res judicata is enshrined in Section 13 of the CPC, which states that any judgement rendered by a foreign court can be implemented in India and will serve as res judicata between the parties. 

Meaning and nature

A foreign judgement is conclusive as to any subject directly decided by the foreign court, but it does not include the grounds for the foreign court's decision. The judgement, not the reasoning, is what is decisive under Section 13.

Section 13 enacts a branch of the Res Judicata Rule in regard to foreign judgments, although it does not make every foreign judgement final in Indian courts.

The Supreme Court held in D. Viswanathan v. Rukun ul Mulk Sayed Abdul3 that when determining whether a foreign court's judgement is conclusive, Indian courts will not have to consider the merits of the claim, and it will be conclusive as to any matter directly adjudicated between the parties, subject to the exceptions enumerated in Section 13, clause (a) (f).

Foreign courts will have jurisdiction if:

  1. Where a person is a subject of the foreign country in which the judgement was obtained;

  2.  ii. Where he was a resident of the foreign country when the action was commenced and the summons was served on him;

  3.  iii. Where the person in the character of the plaintiff selects the foreign court as the forum for taking action in which he issued later;

  4.  iv. Where the party on summons voluntarily appeared; and 

  5. v. Where a person has contracted to a foreign country

Conclusiveness of foreign Judgements

If the subject matter is within (movable/ immovable) that nation, a foreign court has jurisdiction to pronounce judgement in rem, but if it is not, the court will not be regarded competent.

In an action in personam, foreign courts have jurisdiction in the following situations: 

1. If the defendant was a resident or a visitor in the nation at the time the action was filed.

2. Where the defendant was a subject or citizen of that nation at the time of the judgement.

3. When a party who objects to a jurisdiction submits to it via his own actions [Also in International Law].

Foreign Judgements not on merits

When a judgement is made after considering evidence and applying the mind to the truth or falsehood of facts as well as the parties' contentions, it is called a merits decision. The decision was determined not to be on the merits since it was made without a trial on the evidence due to the defendant's default.

"Wife filed petition for judicial separation and support in Indian Court and within the same period, husband received a divorce decision from a court in the United States of America," according to Anubha v. Vikas Aggarwal, AIR 2003 Del. 175. Consider whether or not this judgement was legally binding.

Husband and wife are Hindus, and the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 governs their matrimonial conflicts. Wife did not submit to the jurisdiction of the United States of America Court, nor did she consent to the issuance of a divorce in the United States of America Court. As a result, the ruling acquired by the husband from a court in the United States of America is neither recognised nor enforceable."

Similarly, a decree issued by a Singapore Court in a summary hearing after the defendant was denied permission to defend short is not a decision on the merits. As a result, it isn't possible. As envisioned by Section 13 (b) of the CPC, 190 is deemed conclusive.

A foreign judgement is not binding under following circumstances:

  1. Foreign judgement has not been pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction

  2. Foreign judgement has not been given on the merits of the case

  3. Foreign judgement against international or Indian law in an incorrect view

  4. Which is opposed to natural justice

  5. When the judgement has been obtained by fraud.

  6. When the judgement is found to be in brach of indian law.

The Supreme Court ruled in Sankaran Govindan v. Lakshmi Bharathi that unless a court has jurisdiction, its decisions would not be recognised or executed in India. The Supreme Court ruled in A.V. Pappaya Sastry v. Government of Andhra Pradesh that any judgement, decision, or order acquired by defrauding a court or authority is null and void in the eyes of the law.

As a result, we can conclude that a foreign court ruling produces estoppel or res judicata between the same parties if the judgement is not amenable to challenge under any of Section 13's clauses (a) to (f). If a party makes a claim and then abandons it during the trial of a lawsuit, and the decree or judgement in that lawsuit suggests the claim was not accepted by the court, the court must be understood to have directly adjudicated against it.

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