A foreign Court has jurisdiction to deliver a judgment in rem which may be enforced or recognized in an Indian Court provided that the subject matter of the action is property, whether movable or immovable within the jurisdiction of that Court
Bench: Shah, J.C.
One Ramalingam died at Bangalore leaving a will whereby he devised considerable immovable and movable properties in the States of Mysore and Madras. The executors applied for Probate of the will and it was granted by the District judge. Thereupon the sons of Ramlingam instituted two suits in the District Court, Bangalore and the District Court Civil and Military Station for possession of the immovable properties in Mysore and the movable properties devised by the will and a suit in the Madras High Court for possession of movable and immovable properties in Madras devised by the will. The movable included certain shares of the India Sugars and Refineries Ltd., a company with its registered office at Bellary in the State of Madras. The suits were based on the ground that all the properties were joint family properties and Ramalingam had no power to dispose of the property by his will. The Madras suit was stayed pending the disposal of the Bangalore Suits. The District judge decreed the suit holding that the property devised by the will was of the joint family of Ramalingam and his sons and the will was on that account inoperative. The executors preferred appeals to the Mysore High Court. The HC dismissed the appeals. The case was referred to a full Bench and appeals were allowed and the suit holding that the property was the self-acquired property of Ramalingam was dismissed. Thereafter, in the Madras suit the executors urged that the judgment of the Mysore High Court was binding upon the parties and the suit was barred as res judicata. The plaintiff contended that as to the immovables in Madras the Mysore Court could not and did not adjudicate upon their claim and that in any event the Mysore judgment which was a foreign judgment was not conclusive as the proceedings in the Mysore High Court were opposed to natural justice within the meaning of s. 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure the bench showed bias before and during the hearing of the appeals and were incompetent to sit on the Full Bench and their judgment was coram non judice. The Trial judge held that the judgment of Mysore High Court was coram non judice and was nonconclusive under s. 13 of the Code and that all the properties movable and immovable disposed of by Ramalingam belonged to the joint family and he accordingly decreed the suit. On appeal the High Court held that it was not established that the Mysore Full Bench was coram non judice, that the properties in suit were joint family properties which Ramalingam was incompetent to dispose of by his will, that the Mysore judgment did not affect the immovable in Madras but it was conclusive with respect to the movables even outside the State of Mysore and accordingly modified the decree of the trial Court by dismissing the suit with respect to the movables which consisted mainly of shares of the India Sugars & Refineries Ltd.
1. Whether the Judgment of the Mysore High Court was conclusive
2. Whether a foreign court has jurisdiction to deliver a judgment in rem which may be enforced or recognized in an Indian Court
The appellant contended that the judgment of the Mysore Fall Bench is not conclusive between parties in the Madras suit, for the Mysore Court was not a court of competent jurisdiction as to property movable and immovable outside the territory of the Mysore State, that the judgment was not binding because the Judges who presided over the Full Bench were not competent by the law of the Mysore State to decide the dispute and that in any event it "was coram non judice" because they were interested or biased and the proceedings before them were conducted in a manner opposed to natural justice.
The respondent submitted that the judgment was and the Madras High Court was competent to decide whether the immovables in Madras were not acquired out of the earnings of that business.
The judgment of the Mysore High Court was not conclusive between the parties in the Madras suit with respect to the immovable properties in Madras but was conclusive with respect to the shares of the Company in the State of Madras.
A foreign Court has jurisdiction to deliver a judgment in rem which may be enforced or recognised in an Indian Court provided that the subject matter of the action is property, whether movable or immovable within the jurisdiction of that Court. The Mysore Courts were not competent to give a Binding judgment in respect of the immovable property situate in the State of Madras nor did they in fact give any judgment with respect to immovable property outside Mysore.