The Ministry of Law & Justice, in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 44A of the Civil Procedure Code, has issued a path-breaking notification on 17th January, 2020 wherein it has declared the United Arab Emirates (UAE) a reciprocating territory for the purpose of execution of its decrees here in India.

The relevant extract of the notification is produced herein below:

"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, namely:-

(1) Federal Court-

(a) Federal Supreme Court;

(b) Federal, First Instance and Appeals Courts in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah;

(2) Local Courts-

(a) Abu Dhabi Judicial Department;

(b) Dubai Courts;

(c) Ras Al Khaimah Judicial Department;

(d) Courts of Abu Dhabi Global Markets;

(e) Courts of Dubai International Financial Center."

This notification is in the light of the 1999 Agreement between The Republic of India and The United Arab Emirates on Juridical and Judicial Cooperation in Civil And Commercial Matters for the Service of Summons, Judicial Documents, Commissions, Execution Of Judgments And Arbitral Awards.


  1. Most civil judgments passed by the Courts in the UAE.
  2. Service of summons and other judicial documents or processes
  3. The taking of evidence by means of Letters of Request or Commissions
  4. Execution of Decrees,
  5. Execution of Settlements, and
  6. Execution of Arbitral Awards.


  1. Orders relating to taxation.
  2. Charges of an administrative nature such as fines and/or penalties.
  3. Orders and judgments of Criminal Courts.


  1. The Order should be passed by a court of competent jurisdiction.
  2. The principles of natural justice should have been followed.
  3. It should not be vitiated by fraud.
  4. It should be in consonance with the Indian and/or International laws.
  5. It should be a decision on the merits of the case.

Unlike non-reciprocating countries which have a limitation period of 3 years for the enforcement of the decree/order, for UAE and other reciprocating countries, such an application can be made within 12 years.



The prominent banks include UAE-based Emirates NBD, Mashreq Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

A few other lenders such as Doha Bank, National Bank of Oman and National Bank of Bahrain, that have exposure to Indian entities or citizens through their branches in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, also have either already moved to the courts in the UAE or are in the process of doing so in the coming weeks.

Type of Loan

Most of the cases are of corporate loans and that is also the priority for the banks as the amounts involved are huge.

But some banks also have retail loan exposure to India. Most of the loans were taken in the past 10 to 15 years.


The banks are also understood to be in the process of initiating legal action against Indian defaulters in India to recover around $7 billion while some have also approached UAE Courts rather than going to Indian Courts to recover their defaulted debts.

Many individuals had given personal guarantees to UAE banks before taking the loans.


The Notification presents a huge opportunity to all litigants that were a party to a civil litigation in the UAE to enforce their right through a much effective route and would give way to a possibility to businesses & investors from the UAE who had their debts from debtors in India.

Earlier, in a lot of instances, people used to abscond from the UAE and return to India in order to avoid paying their legitimate dues or carry out their responsibilities under an order and in absence of an enforcement and reciprocation mechanism, the judgment debtors were left empty handed. This picture is going to change completely now.

Alternatively, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 is also an option to recover bad debts against an incorporated legal entity provided the debt is within 3 years and is free from dispute.

It is a welcome step and is going to strengthen not just the political but also the economic relations between the two countries.

This content is purely an academic analysis under "Legal intelligence series".

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this document is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal opinion, advice or any advertisement. This document is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or corporate body. Readers should not act on the information provided herein without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the facts and circumstances of a particular situation. There can be no assurance that the judicial/quasi-judicial authorities may not take a position contrary to the views mentioned herein.