A court which is situated outside the territory of India and is not under the control of central government is foreign court and a judgement passed by it is foreign judgement. The provision under the CPC provides for res judicata in application of foreign judgements and embody the principle of Private International Law. A judgement by a foreign court which has competent jurisdiction is enforceable in Indian courts and acts as res judicata with the exceptions specified under CPC. Section 13 and 14 of Code of Civil Procedure deals with application of foreign judgements in India. Section 13 provides for non-conclusive foreign judgment; it provides for conditions which make a foreign judgement non conclusive.
There are mainly three primary sources of law that is related to enforcement of foreign judgements in India that are:
- Legal provisions passed by the parliament: Sections 13 and 14 of the Code of Civil Procedure deals with enforcement and validity of foreign judgements in India.
- Treaties: Bilateral treaties that India has with other countries enable enforcement and recognition of foreign judgements.
- Judicial precedents: In the case Moloji Nar Singh Rao v. Shankar Saran, it was said by the court that foreign judgments are enforceable in India, but a foreign judgement not given by a superior court of the reciprocating country, cannot be enforced in India without filling of the new suit in which that judgement will have evidentiary value.
For a judgement to be enforced in India which is passed by a court of any foreign country it must be conclusive. If the judgement is inconclusive as per the provisions of the code, then it cannot be recognized and enforced in India. Section 13 of CPC deals with situations when a foreign judgement becomes inconclusive, that are:
- When the court that has passed the judgement does not have competent jurisdiction.
- Foreign judgement that not been made on merits of the case.
- Judgement that is against the Indian or International Law.
- Foreign judgment which is opposed to principle of natural justice.
- Judgment obtained by Fraud.
- Foreign judgment that has been founded on breach of Indian Law.
International Judgment must be completely definitive in all the parts. The parties seeking its enforcement must make sure that it does not fall under the conditions mentioned above. If any of the above conditions apply to the foreign judgement, then it will be found to be inconclusive and therefore cannot be enforced in India. All kinds of decisions are accepted by Indian courts such as divorce, Injunctive decisions, financial decisions, anti-suit enforcement etc. The courts also held that even ex-parte judgements are accepted by them, if all the existing legal processes are completed and implemented by the courts.
Ramanathan Chettyar and Another v. Kalimuthu Pillay and Another, the court specifies the conditions in which the foreign court have competent jurisdiction:
- When defendant is the resident of the country where the action was commenced.
- When the defendant in a previous case has filed a case in same forum.
- When the defendant voluntarily appeared.
- When the defendant has decided to submit itself to foreign court.
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