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Illustrative image: The move will be a game changer in the execution of civil verdicts in financial cases, said Femin Panikkassery, a lawyer based in Dubai. Image Credit: File

Dubai: The long arm of the law will no longer take a long time to catch loan defaulters and other civil case convicts in the UAE who have fled to India, Gulf News can reveal.

India on January 18 issued a gazette notification declaring the UAE as a "reciprocating territory" for the Code of Civil Procedure and identifying the superior courts here, thereby facilitating the execution of UAE civil court orders through Indian courts.

Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, confirmed to Gulf News that the notification implies that the civil and commercial court orders from the UAE courts identified as "superior" can now be executed through the district courts in India.

Pavan Kapoor
Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to UAE

The notification, what does it say

The Indian Ministry of Law and Justice on January 18 published the notification, dated January 17, in the official gazette.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Explanation 1 to section 44A of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), the Central Government hereby declares United Arab Emirates to be a reciprocating territory for the purposes of the said section and the following Courts in United Arab Emirates to be superior Courts of that territory,” the notification reads.

It also lists the federal and local courts in various emirates in the UAE that have been identified as the superior courts.

Kapoor said the new notification was the only remaining part of a 1999 agreement between the UAE and India related to cooperation in civil and commercial matters.

Reciprocating territory

The UAE had given effect to the treaty by publishing it in the Federal Gazette pursuant to Federal Decree No. 33 of 2000, according to a 2018 Guidance Note signed by DIFC with Nishith Desai Associates, covering enforcement of civil and commercial judgments through DIFC Courts and the Courts of India.

It said though the ratification of the agreement was exchanged in 2000, the treaty could not be fully implemented as the UAE could not be defined as a “reciprocating territory” for the execution of UAE judgments in India without India’s notification in its Official Gazette to give effect to the treaty.

The envoy observed that the missing element of the treaty — designating the courts — had now been added.

“My understanding is that this was the only thing left. Now, that has finally happened. The court order from the UAE now should be executed through the Indian courts.”

Kapoor confirmed that the move would help in enforcement of civil and commercial court verdicts in financial cases such as loan defaults, bounced cheques as well as verdicts in divorce cases.

Game changer in financial cases

The move will be a game changer in the execution of civil verdicts in financial cases, said Femin Panikkassery, a lawyer based in Dubai.

“This will be a big warning to those who flee to India after taking huge loans from banks. Earlier, most of the banks and individuals found it difficult to recover their money if the accused had fled to India.

"Now, they can approach the district courts in India directly seeking execution of the UAE court orders after due process of attestation of documents.”

No new suit to be filed

Since the UAE was not in the list of reciprocating territory, he said, there was a long procedure for executing a court verdict from here in India.

“It entailed applying for a certified copy of the judgment from the UAE, filing a civil law suit again in India, getting a fresh judgement and then filing the execution application. This consumes a lot of time and expenses.”

“Now a new suit will not have to be filed. This will be very helpful for the petitioners of many financial disputes in the UAE if the other party is in India,” said Panikkassery.

Welcoming the move, Farhat Ali Khan, managing partner of legal consultancy firm Century Maxim International, said: “It is an opportunity for petitioners to get a decree of the UAE executed in India in all civil cases, including divorce cases. Decree holders in matters particularly related to financial recoveries, can now execute their orders through a much simpler process. The matter will no longer be reexamined on merits. This step strengthens the bilateral judicial relationship between the UAE and India.”

List of UAE courts whose verdicts can be executed in India

  • Federal Supreme Court
  • Federal, First Instance and Appeals Courts in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah.
  • Abu Dhabi Judicial Department
  • Dubai Courts
  • Ras Al Khaimah Judicial Department
  • Courts of Abu Dhabi Global Markets
  • Courts of Dubai International Financial Centre