London Court’s Order Not on Merits; High Court Rules in Favour of KSRTC

The High Court of Karnataka has ruled that an execution petition initiated by a British couple based on a judgement of a London court is not executable as it was not passed on merits.

The couple had met with an accident while on a visit to India in 2002. They sued the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for compensation in a British court, which ruled in their favour.

The couple then tried to get the British court order executed in India but Justice HP Sandesh in his judgement on July 14 nullified it.

The HC held that the foreign court had not followed the principles of natural justice. KSRTC had replied to a notice but it was not taken into consideration by the foreign court.

“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 Karnataka HC said.

Nigel Roderick Lloyd Harradine and Carol Ann Harradine from Old Coulsdon village, Surrey, England, were in India on March 18, 2002 and travelling in a car from Mysuru to Gundlupet.

The car they had engaged from Somak Travels Limited and driven by one, Ravi met with an accident with a KSRTC bus.

The couple filed a claim in respect of the alleged accident before the Exeter County Court, the United Kingdom, which allowed their petition and directed KSRTC to pay compensation.

Subsequently, they filed an execution petition based on the judgement of the UK court before the XXV Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge, Bengaluru. KSRTC’s application challenging the UK court’s judgement was rejected by the Civil Court forcing the KSRTC to file the revision petition in the High Court.

The HC secured the Trial Court records from the lower court before passing its judgement.

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“It discloses that no certified copy of the judgement and decree of the Foreign Court is placed before the Trial Court but only a xerox copy of the same is placed before the court and nowhere it is found that claim has been considered on merits except passing the order and even the alleged statement of objections also not considered while passing such an order,” the court maintained.

The HC noted that the reply of the KSRTC to the notice issued by the foreign court was not considered in the foreign court’s judgement.

“No doubt, admittedly, notice was given and the same was served through an advocate and revision petitioner also claims that they sent the reply and the same is not forthcoming in the order of the foreign court and nothing is discussed in the order even for the objection which has been raised and the same is not on merits as held by this court,” the HC said.

Allowing the revision petition filed by the KSRTC, the HC ruled that the Foreign Court’s decree was not executable and said, “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.” 

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