High Court of Delhi
This article is in the nature of a case study albeit the decision rendered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of: Dinesh Singh Thakur v. Sonal Thakur, whereby the Apex Court in a matter concerning matrimonial discord refused to exercise its power of granting anti-suit injunction to stay the proceedings initiated by the respondent-wife (hereinafter referred to as ‘W’) in the Circuit Court of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in and for Pinellas County, Florida (USA) for grant of divorce on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage and other reliefs, despite the fact that the appellant-husband (hereinafter referred to as ‘H’) had already filed a petition being HMA No. 601/2016 under Sections 13 and 26 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 in the Family Court (Gurgaon, India).
An anti-suit injunction is a judicial order restraining a party to a suit or proceeding from instituting or prosecuting a case in another court, including a foreign court. The legal principles which govern the grant of ‘injunction simpliciter’ and ‘anti-suit injunction’ are the same, namely, (i) good prima facie case being made out in favour of the plaintiff as against the defendant, (ii) balance of convenience being in favour of the plaintiff as against the defendant, and (iii) irreparable loss likely to be caused to the plaintiff in case the order of injunction is not granted in favour of the plaintiff as against the defendant.
Courts in India like the Courts of England are Courts of law and equity. Courts in India have the power to issue anti-suit injunction to a party over whom it has personal jurisdiction in an appropriate case, this is because Courts of equity exercise jurisdiction in personam. The power to issue anti-suit injunction has to be exercised sparingly and cautiously. The injunction is directed at the respondent and not at the judge in the foreign court.
Keywords: Principle of comity, anti-suit injunction, matrimonial case