Anti-suit injunctions are meant to restrain a party to a suit/proceeding from instituting or prosecuting a case in another court, including a foreign court. Simply put, an anti-suit injunction is a judicial order restraining one party from prosecuting a case in another court outside its jurisdiction. The principles governing grant of injunction are common to that of granting anti-suit injunction. The cases of injunction are basically governed by the doctrine of equity.
It is a well settled law that the courts in India have power to issue anti-suit injunction to a party over whom it has personal jurisdiction, in an appropriate case. However, before passing the order of anti-suit injunction, courts should be very cautious and careful, and it should be granted sparingly and not as a matter of routine as such orders involve a court impinging on the jurisdiction of another court, which is not entertained very easily specially when it restrains the parties from instituting or continuing a case in a Foreign Court.
In Modi Entertainment Network v. W.S.G. Cricket P.T.E. Ltd., (2003) 4 SCC 341, it was held that the courts in India like courts in England are courts of law and equity. The principles governing the grant of anti-suit injunction being essentially an equitable relief; the courts in India have the powers to issue anti-suit injunction to a party over whom it has personal jurisdiction in an appropriate case; this is because the courts of equity exercise jurisdiction in personam; this power has to be exercised sparingly where such an injunction is sought and if not granted, it would amount to the defeat of ends of justice and injustice would be perpetuated.
In Vivek Rai Gupta v. Niyati Gupta, Civil Appeal No. 1123 of 2006, decided on 10.02.2016, it was held as under:
“If the execution proceedings are filed by the respondent-wife for executing the aforesaid decree dated 18.09.2012 passed by the Court of Common Pleas. Cuyahoga Country, Ohio, U.S.A. against any other movable/immovable property in India it would be open to the appellant-husband to resist the said execution petition on any grounds available to him in law taking the position that such a decree is not executable.”
Further, in Harmeeta Singh v. Rajat Taneja, 2003 (67) DRJ 58, the Delhi High Court considering the fact that the parties have lived together for a very short time in the United States of America had granted anti-suit injunction.
In Y. Narasimha Rao v. Y. Venkata Lakshmi, (1991) 3 SCC 451, it was laid down as under:
“From the aforesaid discussion the following rule can be deuced for recognizing a foreign matrimonial judgment in the country. The jurisdiction assumed by the foreign court as well as the grounds on which the relief is granted must be in accordance with the matrimonial law under which the parties are married. The exceptions to this rule may be as follows: (i) where the matrimonial action is filed in the forum where the respondent is domiciled or habitually and permanently resides and the relief is granted on a ground available in the matrimonial law under which the parties are married; (ii) where the respondent voluntarily and effectively submits to the jurisdiction of the forum as discussed above and contests the claim which is based on a ground available under the matrimonial law under which the parties are married; (iii) where the respondent consents to the grant of the relief although the jurisdiction of the forum is not in accordance with the provisions of the matrimonial law of the parties.” Dinesh Singh Thakur v. Sonal Thakur, 2018 (5) AWC 4487.