The Karnataka High Court has allowed the plea filed by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation on the ground that the execution petition initiated by the British couple based on the judgment of the London Court is not executable.

A Single Bench of Justice H.P Sandesh held, “… taking into note of the material on record it discloses that the Court has not followed the principles of natural justice while recording the reasons and very importantly, basing on the application of the appellant itself, conclusively decided the issue with regard to jurisdiction and passed the order coupled with costs hence, the order passed by the foreign Court is not conclusive and not on merits and hence, the same cannot be executable. … the judgment of the foreign Court is not executable since the same is not on merits and it suffers from its legality and correctness and hence, the revision petition requires to be allowed.”

The Bench observed that the judgment and decree which is sought for enforcement in India is not passed on merits and when such being the circumstances, the same is not enforceable.

Advocate P.D. Surana appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Advocate Vijay B.K. appeared on behalf of the respondent.

In this case, a petition was filed challenging the order passed by the Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge. The decree holders claimed that in 2002, they were traveling in a car driven by a driver, and the said car was heading from Mysuru to Gundlupet. A KSRTC bus was moving from Gundlupet to Nanjangud and when both the vehicles were moving in the opposite direction, the accident took place.

It was alleged that the said car was engaged for transportation by M/s. Somak Travels Limited and hence, they preferred the claim in respect of the alleged accident before the Exeter Country Court, United Kingdom. The foreign Court allowed the claim petition and directed to pay the compensation. The decree holders on account of non-payment of compensation, filed the execution petition and the judgment debtor i.e., the revision petitioner herein, filed an application under Section 47 of CPC praying the Court to hold the decree (under execution) is not executable in law.

The High Court in view of the facts of the case noted, “… it is very clear that if judgment is passed, even it is exparte, not on evidence, the same cannot be held that the order is passed on merits. … 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 2 to Section 44A CPC.”

The Court said that when the order itself is not on merits, the very contention cannot be accepted, and no conclusive order on merits.

“The revision petition is allowed. Consequently, the application filed under Section 47 of CPC before the Trial Court is allowed and the decree under execution is not executable in law as the same is not on merits”, held the Court.

Cause Title- The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation v. Nigel Roderick Lloyd Harradine and Carol Ann Harradine

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