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Federal Supreme Court Abu Dhabi Image Credit:

Dubai: India declaring the UAE as a reciprocating territory for the Civil Procedure Code will pave the way for a more law-abiding society by prevening people from absconding and encouraging amicable settlements between couples in marital disputes, lawyers told Gulf News on Monday.

As first reported by Gulf News on Sunday, India on January 18 published a gazette notification that facilitated the execution of the civil court orders from UAE courts designated as “superior” in India.

Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, had confirmed to Gulf News that the notification implies that the civil and commercial court orders from the UAE courts identified as “superior” should now be executed through Indian courts.

On Monday, legal experts Musthafa Zafeer O.V. and Almana Zafeer termed the move as a “marriage of the legal systems.”

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Almana Zafeer

This will strengthen the fear of law, preventing people from fleeing the country to escape from being penalised in civil and commercial disputes, including bank loan defaulters and cheque bounce cases, pointed out Musthafa.

“The notion that I can escape to India and nothing will happen to me will change. People will try to stay back and settle the cases. This will pave the way for a more law-abiding society,” he said.

Vice-versa

Musthafa said the multi-jurisdictional platform introduced through the new move would also ensure that UAE residents who have defrauded someone in India and living here also will also be bound to honour a court order issued in India.

“That means an Indian expat or a foreigner cannot come and stay here happily after committing civil offences back in India.”

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Musthafa Zafeer O.V.

He said their firm will soon be approaching a court in India to seek execution against a man who absconded from here after collecting Dh1.8m from various investors on the pretext of starting a supermarket here.

“It is not just loan defaulters who are absconding. People like this fraudster were also misusing the loopholes in the legal system. This new move will be a huge relief for companies that have suffered losses in commercial disputes as well.”

Helpful in divorce cases

Al Mana said this will also result in more amicable settlements between couples in marital disputes as well.

She said there are several instances of husbands not honouring court orders in divorce cases.

“Some fly back to India and will not provide the maintenance allowance for the wife and children ordered by the court. In some cases, children are taken away from one parent without the consent of the other parent in violation of the court order on child’s custody.”

“All these people will now be bound to honour the court order from here even if they escape to India. In such a situation, they are more likely to distance themselves from getting dragged into further legal procedures and would agree for amicable settlements with their spouses.”

How it will be implemneted?

Meanwhile, banks are waiting for finer details on the execution part of the law to understand how to proceed with cases against loan defaulters.

“We are in the process of understanding the new procedure. We need to understand which cases we can take up, what is the procedure etc,” said D. Ananda Kumar, CEO of Bank of Baroda.

He said the bank is currently dealing with about 200 cases of absconding loan defaulters who fled to India.

“We got stuck in many cases wherein ex parte decrees were not recognised by the Indian courts. Now, we have to see how these cases will be treated.”

“There is more clarification needed. We are trying to get the details through some topnotch advocates in India on how to proceed with these cases.”

When contacted, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi said it was also in the process of getting finer details about the execution procedures.

Attaching properties

Though the government is yet to clarify on the procedure of execution, Musthafa said the district courts in India are now expected to order the revenue departments to attach the properties or freeze accounts of loan defaulters to help recover the money from the accused in a specified time.

He said the doubt about rejection of execution of ex parte decrees is just an ambiguity that people have.

“Setting aside an ex parte decree is subjective to the satisfaction of the court,” he said.

“When a judgment is passed in absentia, the other party has the right to go to the court and tell why he hasn’t been able to present his case. For example, if you don’t come to know about a litigation if the other party has deliberately avoided providing the information. But there is a time limit for that.”

“Whereas if you absconded to avoid legal consequences, and then the petitioner has the right to get the ex parte judgement.”