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Foreign decree is governed by law of limitation of foreign country, when its enforcement is sought in India; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice Deepak Gupta & Justice Aniruddha Bose

The SC on March 17, 2020 {BANK OF BARODA v. KOTAK MAHINDRA BANK LTD.} held that the limitation period for executing a decree passed by a foreign court (from reciprocating country) in India will be the limitation prescribed in the reciprocating foreign country. Obviously, this will be subject to the decree being executable in terms of Section 13 of the CPC.

It was also held that limitation would start running from the date the decree was passed in the cause country and the period of limitation prescribed in the forum country would not apply. It was held that in case the decree holder does not take any steps to execute the decree   in   the cause   country within   the   period   of   limitation prescribed in the country of the cause, it cannot come to the forum country and plead a new cause of action or plead that the limitation of the forum country should apply.

It was held that the period of limitation would start running from the date the decree was   passed   in   the   foreign   court   of   a   reciprocating   country. However, it was held that if the decree holder first takes steps-­in-­aid to execute the   decree   in   the cause   country,   and   the   decree   is not   fully satisfied, then he can then file a petition for execution in India within a period of 3 years from the finalisation of the execution proceedings in the cause country. 

It was further held that Section 44A only enables the District Court to execute the decree and further provides that the District Court shall follow the same procedure as it follows while executing an Indian decree, but it does not lay down or indicate the period of limitation   for   filing   such   an   execution   petition.  

What is the limitation for filing an application           for  execution of a foreign decree of a reciprocating country in India ? The said question was considered by the SC in the present case and was answered accordingly as aforesaid. The appeal was dismissed by the SC of the Decree Holder - as barred by limitation - but for the reasons as stated above by the SC.

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