English Court’s interlocutory order maintainable: SC

The Supreme Court of India recently ruled that the execution of an order of an English Court related to a dismissal of challenge to its jurisdiction is ‘maintainable’ in Indian courts.

Dismissing a number of arguments from the appellant, the Court said that the order passed by the English Court is on merits of the case. “A judgment can be considered as a judgment passed on merits when the Court deciding the case gives opportunity to the parties to the case to put forth their case and after considering the rival submissions, gives its decision in the form of an order or judgment, it is certainly an order on merits of the case in the context of interpretation of Section 13(c) of the CPC”, it said.

“The principles of comity of nation demand us to respect the order of English Court. Even in regard to an interlocutory order, Indian Courts have to give due weight to such order unless it falls under any of the exceptions under Section 13 of the CPC”, the Court said.

The Court also looked into the definitions of a ‘decree’, ‘order’ and ‘judgment’ as per the Civil Procedure Code (“CPC”) to conclude that ‘decree’ includes judgment and ‘judgment’ includes ‘order’. “On conjoint reading of ‘decree’, ‘judgment’ and ‘order’ from any angle, the order passed by the English Court falls within the definition of ‘Order’ and therefore, it is a judgment and thus becomes a “decree” as per Explanation to Section 44A(3) of CPC”, the Court said.

The Court also said that even though interest on costs are not available in India due to exclusion of Section 35 (3) of CPC, the same does not mean that Indian Courts are powerless to execute the said decree for interest on costs.

“The necessity of maintaining the foreign rights outweighs the practical difficulties involved in applying the foreign remedy. In India, although the interest on costs are not available due to exclusion of Section 35(3), the same does not mean that Indian Courts are powerless to execute the decree for interest on costs. Indian Courts are very much entitled to address the issue for execution of the interest amount. The right to 8% interest as per the Judgments Act, 1838 of UK can be recognized and as well as implemented in India”, it opined.

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