Principles under Indian law for grant of anti-suit injunctions
In general, courts are cautious while granting anti-suit injunctions. As explained before, an anti-suit injunction can only be granted against a person over whom a court has personal jurisdiction.
Secondly, since an anti-suit injunction issued by a court of one country has the risk of excluding the jurisdiction of another court (which may be competent to try cases in another country), the power to issue anti-suit injunctions is used very sparingly and keeping in mind the principle of comity which governs the relationship of courts in different countries. Mutual respect for other quotes in their countries in which the commencement or continuation of action/proceeding may be sought.
Thirdly, an anti-suit injunction can only be granted when the refusal of the injunction will lead to denial of justice and perpetuation of injustice (which is a vague condition, and subject to interpretation by courts).
Both the second and third criteria are very wide and provide the court a very broad discretion to grant or refuse an anti-suit injunction. For example, when should a court form an opinion that refusal of injunction can lead to injustice? In this light, the following rules are relevant supreme Court in the case of Modi entertainment network versus W.S.G. cricket Private Limited:
- In a case where a proceeding can be filed in courts or tribunals of multiple countries, a court will examine as to which is the appropriate forum (forum conveniens) having regard to the convenience of the parties and may grant an anti-suit injunction in regard to proceedings which are oppressive or vexations3 or in a court which is not convenient for the parties (forum non-conveniens)
- If a clause provides for the jurisdiction of the courts of a particular country, Indian courts will usually respect the choice of parties (even if the clause provides for non-exclusive jurisdiction of such a court). For E.g. If a contract provides for non-exclusive jurisdiction of courts in London, the Bombay High Court will not ordinarily issue an anti-suit injunction preventing a party from approaching courts in London or from continuing legal proceedings there.
- However, under exceptional circumstances, courts may disregard the choice of parties specified under the contract. It will be easier for courts to disregard the choice of parties when the contract specifies the non-exclusive jurisdiction of courts of a particular country. Such exceptional circumstances could include situations that permit a contracting party to be relieved of the burden of the contract or subsequent events rendering it impossible for a party to prosecute the case in the court of choice because the essence of the jurisdiction of the court does not exist or because of a force majeure.
- The court will not grant an anti-suit injunction if it will deprive the defendant of any advantages available to it in a foreign forum which of which it would be unjust to deprive him.
This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being.