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Whether the divorce decrees passed by foreign courts can be enforced under Section 13 of CPC by the courts in the country

Parul Dhingra ,
  26 August 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :

Brief :
Under Section 13 of CPC, a foreign judgment is not conclusive as to any matter thereby directly adjudicated upon between the parties if (a) it has not been pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction; (b) it has not been given on the merits of the case; (c) it is founded on an incorrect view of international law or a refusal to recognize the law of India in cases in which such law is applicable; (d) the proceedings are opposed to natural justice; (e) it is obtained by fraud; (f) it sustains a claim founded on a breach of any law in force in India.
Citation :
Appellant : Y. Narasimha Rao And Ors Respondent : Y. Venkata Lakshmi And Anr Citation : (1991) 3 SCC 451

Bench: Justice Rangnath Misra, Justice P.B Sawant

Issue: Whether the divorce decrees passed by foreign courts can be enforced under Section 13 of CPC by the courts in the country?

Facts:

•  A1 & R1 married in Tirupati in 1975 as per Hindu law but separated in 1978. 

•  A1 filed an application for dissolution of marriage in Sub-court of Tirupati stating that he was resident of New Orleans, USA.

•  In 1980, he filed another petition for dissolution in Cicuit Court, Missouri, USA alleging that he has been resident of Missouri for 90 days before filing the petition & his wife has deserted him for more than a year. However, R1 replied for not submitting to the jurisdiction of the foreign court. 

• The Circuit Court assumed the jurisdiction & passed the decree for dissolution on the ground of irretrievable breakdown on 9-2-1980. The petition before Subcourt of Tirupati was dismissed. A1 married A2 in India in 1981. 

• In 1981, R1 filed a criminal complaint against appellants for bigamy. Appellants filed application for discharge in view of order of dissolution of marriage given by Missouri court.  The Magistrate discharged the Appellants. 

•  The HC reversed the decision holding that the photostat copy of judgement by Missouri Court is not admissible in evidence for dissolution of marriage. 

•  Appellants have filed the appeal in SC now. 

Appellant’s contentions:

•  It was contended that the decision of HC is not correct. 

Respondent’s contentions:

• It was contented that the respondent didn’t submit to the jurisdiction of foreign court. 

Judgement:

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. 

"Under Section 13 of CPC, a foreign judgment is not conclusive as to any matter thereby directly adjudicated upon between the parties if (a) it has not been pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction; (b) it has not been given on the merits of the case; (c) it is founded on an incorrect view of international law or a refusal to recognize the law of India in cases in which such law is applicable; (d) the proceedings are opposed to natural justice; (e) it is obtained by fraud; (f) it sustains a claim founded on a breach of any law in force in India."

-Para 8,

"Since with regard to the jurisdiction of the forum as well as the ground on which it is passed the foreign decree in the present case is not in accordance with the Act under which the parties were married, and the respondent had not submitted to the jurisdiction of the court or consented to its passing, it cannot be recognised by the courts in this country and is, therefore, unenforceable."

-Para 15, Y. Narasimha Rao And Ors v. Y. Venkata Lakshmi And Anr

 

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