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Woman Fights for Sovereignty After Judge Declares Living Off Grid Illegal

Christina Sarich
March 5th, 2014
Updated 05/06/2014 at 8:29 pm
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florida judge grid illegal 263x164 Woman Fights for Sovereignty After Judge Declares Living Off Grid IllegalA Florida woman has gone head to head with a local judge who has declared her efforts to live off the grid illegal and in violation of local and international code ordinances.

Robin Speronis, a 54-year-old former real estate agent currently living in Cape Coral in a small duplex, has her own solar panels and collects rain water for her needs, She has even installed a simple outdoor shower in order to be independent from the municipal energy and water supply. The local power company and water supply surely have a hand in the Special Magistrate Harold S. Eskin’s ruling that, although the regulations for her city are redundant and unreasonable, she was in violation of city code as well as the International Property Maintenance Code.

Apparently generating your own power and using rainwater or other natural elements is not your sovereign right. Speronis using her own elbow grease to live more in balance with nature is now part of a heated debate.

“Reasonableness and code requirements don’t always go hand-in-hand,” stated Eskin, cunningly inserting his own disagreement with the outrageous rules. Nevertheless, he insists that he is required to enforce them, “whether I want to or not.” We all know this is untrue. He is a judge. He could find other legal precedence for an entirely different determination.

Off The Grid News offers a different opinion, as did Speronis. She has been fighting the city council since November when a code enforcement officer showed up at her home and tried to evict her from her own property for not using public utilities. She challenges that relying on nature for her needs is her personal choice and that it isn’t in violation of anything.

“I am in compliance,” Speronis stated to the News-Press about the saga. “I’m in compliance of living… you may have to hook-up, but you don’t have to use it. Well, what’s the point?”

Speronis has been relying on solar power and rainwater for the past year. She uses a small camp stove to cook and propane lamps for both light and heat. She still admits to using the public sewer system for waste, but she says she has no need for other public utilities. She has no other issues with the city, except for a few alleged violations that were thrown out due to her not receiving proper notice.

Todd Allen is Speronis’ lawyer, who has agreed to represent her pro bono. He says, “It was a mental fistfight . . .there is an inherent conflict in the code.”

Allen is referring to an outdated code that the city of Cape Cod has in place which requires homes to connect to the municipal water system even if they don’t use it. The original intent of the code was to prohibit the use of water wells when public water was available. The city is now applying this to rainwater collection.

Overall, the system is built to discourage any lifestyle, which would make one sovereign – that is, sustainable, and not dependant on government plutocracies. Also in Florida, one couple was forced to dig up their 17-year-old organic garden simply because it was in the front yard. This threatens our very independence, and in a time when our water and soil is being poisoned, forces us to partake of a disenfranchising system, which causes ill health to the masses.

Speronis refuses to bow to the city’s demands, though, even while they force liens on her property and continue to issue more fines associated with her ‘violations.’ She is able to appeal the judge’s decision, which would allow her to carry on with her sustainable lifestyle.

She has said,  “We have a long, long road to go. I’m sure justice will prevail.”

From around the web:

  • This communism must stop

    Many people are deciding to use wells, septic tanks, solar power, and are downgrading to mini homes under 1000 square feet. Florida has no right what so ever stopping. people from becoming self sufficient and independent. People should be left alone to live within their means. It may mean the difference between keeping a home and becoming homeless.
    I think that the city responsible for harassing this woman will pay a very heavy price if these natzi tactics continue to be used against people who do not like being forced to accept city services. Sooner or later somebody just might get pissed off. If it happens somebody may wish they had left that lady alone.

  • Matt

    From my own experience all you have to do is get a jury trial and be selective on jury strikes. Try to strike any government worker or those associated with government pay or welfare (excepting military) Also select to strike off women. On average females are not interested in bucking the corrupt system, they are more interested in going along to get along, conforming, and being taking care of by the system, togetherness. be wary of any lawyer and never allow a judge to weigh the facts in evidence.

  • Yenssi Castellanos

    Shame on all those that have a problem with her and her way of living! Who died and made them God? Just let her be! If you don’t buy her food and clothes leave her alone. Their problem is that they are not making money from her as they do from everyone else!

  • Arthur Brooks

    This is absolute lunacy. Code enforcement for living free?

  • Kate

    The point of all this is that the city wants its money. There is a charge to hook up and also a monthly charge weather you use it or not. Also they don’t want people like her letting others know how to do it because they may follow in her footsteps and then where would the city be with out its money? We only win out against a corrupt government once we have eliminated their power to tell us how, what, when and when we can use our free choice.

  • Mario Kenny

    If she is able to get out of FPL more power to her, google ” making water out of thin air” so we can live while we make our own water and power, what is so wrong with that? we have paid water and power for the past 200 yrs for sure, where did it get us? both are polluted, expensive and are tax payer burdensome. How can international law have any jurisdiction in Florida? I think that has endless possibilities endless

  • prestodo

    There is no such thing as soverignty under commercial law. Since persons in the U.S. are classified as citizens under commercial law, then persons in the U.S. cannot be classified as soverigns under common law.
    BTW, Common Law is just as corrupt as Commercial Law…they are both man-made/changeable laws.

  • Andrew

    It’s outrageous that certain people in a room somewhere want to deny someone the right to NOT be dependent on others for shelter and water.

  • Rick Shelton

    Then why is it legal for a poor person not to be able to pay their electric bill…

  • Al

    Basically what this is all about is closing her down as she may set an example for others to follow, simple as that. I mean we can’t have people doing what they want now, can we? Might start other people thinking,about doing the same and that certainly can’t be carried out now, right? Now the rest of you get back in line and listen to how your lives should be lived out…….

  • Andrea

    FIGHT, LADY!!!

  • David Porter

    you better go to Louisiana and arrest and fine 1000,s of people who live in the bayous hahahahahahahah, communists are everywhere

  • Kim Manning Haynes

    Just sounds a lot to me like more dictation as to how we are to live which is not to our own freewill, but to the powers that be and I’m not talking about God. I AM SICK OF THE DICTATORSHIP we now live under here in America. We’ve got to get rid of the dictators, all of them, everywhere. Isn’t that what most of our wars have been about?

  • Arthur Webb

    Do the International Maintenance Codes apply to all of the areas of the world where Obama along with his Nazi Israeli friend are destroying the homes of millions of people?

  • Margaret

    This lady needs to look at how the Amish are able to live off grid. It may sound silly and backwards but if they can be allowed to do so why can’t we?

    Also in CO it is now illegal to capture rain water on YOUR PROPERTY! What in the bleepers is going on?


    so does the judge have shares in the electric company

  • Joyce

    I don’t get it. She’s not hurting ANYONE with her lifestyle, I’ve even considered this myself. She’s hooked up but there is no law that I know of (and if there is it’s unconstitutional in my eyes) to force anyone to use something when they can get by on their own. Let them hook her up she does not have to use it. The government just doesn’t want anyone to be independent of them. They want us all dependent on them so they can control.

  • copykon

    Being disconnected mean less money for the city to collect, That’s why they are fighting it tooth and mail so other people will not try to follow her lead. And when people do win, then they get nailed with an offgrid tax.

  • clif

    You all can go down the road,free man means, free of the government…this has gone to far don’t come to my house.Only warm welcomes are for anyone who doesn’t infringe on my universal life of which god gave me.You should be tried for criminal acts against humanity…I am tried of the people in local manipulates thinking that they can write laws against these things that intrude on others lives…One other thing how much money did you pocket from your constituents this year and the years prior?

  • bowie1

    Can she simply turn off the breaker?

  • Buffet

    I can’t imagine anything more absurd. She needs to arm herself.

  • bobfairlane

    I keep hearing about this “international maintenance property code”. Who wrote it? Who submits to it? Who regulates and enforces it ?The UN? What? Screw it! We don’t need any “international codes”.

  • Kaleta

    Justice?…pretty funny…. Govt always grows itself…like a parasite …keeps expanding…and the law?…just an opinion backed by a gun…This lady needs to relocate out of Florida…out of cities…period. She may be able to sell that property… Get out of the way of corruption and tyranny..and voila!…all is better….

  • Richard A. Tucker

    This article is incomplete. As usual we get limited information from both sides. There’s simply not enough information here to pass judgement one way or the other. Welcome to divided America, where lacking context is the rule and insults pass as free speech.

  • Rosemary Potter

    Everyone should live off the grid. Freedom from high electrical bills should be an option.

  • Gamera

    Gov’t is overstepping its bounds. Need to tar and feather a few judges and politicians.

  • Concerned

    We were forced to remove the vegetables we had growing in our front yard. A sheriff’s deputy stood there and watched us pull up the plants. He said if we didn’t remove them that he would pull them up himself. I’ve never been so furious at the county government in my life. And I threatened to beat the daylights out of my neighbor who complained about our little garden (ten feet square). We both hated that bitch and her devil spawn kids.

  • tg

    Citizens Grand Jury!!!!

  • Charles Matheson

    unfortunately we have a legal system, not a justice system

  • Ford

    Cant* control

  • Ford

    First off they dont have anything to say about her pluming system. so stop talking about that. The big deal is her using water they can control and power they cant control. Its Funny in other parts or the USA and in other parts of the world they are trying to push people to do this vary thing to save the earth and us less power and money. I know lots of people that use set ups alot like this and get paid from the power companies to sell them unused power they cant store. and shes in FL they dont have a heating law like we do in WNC here a house for sale or rent must have some kind of heat. Unless fl can prove they have laws saying every one must use city water and city power then she should sue them for everything there worth. Everyone has the right to live the way they want to as long as it dont harm others and shes not. All shes doing is keeping her 45dollers for water and 300 for power thats why there mad they want that money. hell there was a tax thing giveing people that made there homes less energy dependent. this woman should get alot on her tax to say thank you for not useing the power and water that cost everyone so much and uses the world limited resource and keep up the good work.

  • Valerie Finnigan

    Is our government really interested in energy independence or not?

    • kim

      I think when they say energy independence, they mean from other countries. Not for everyone to do it for themselves.

      • Valerie Finnigan

        Well, energy independence is best started at home.

      • waynesteapartyworld

        The Government bureaucrats want neither.

  • Nate Bolt

    The basic premise of this is inflammatory, but even in the details its absurd. I remember that a show called “Max Headroom” where living off the grid had numerous consequences and freedoms, but it was still better than the government in that show which passed “big brother” laws which are about where the laws are now. The only questionable activity this woman seems to be doing is using the sewer system. Im waiting for a story that has somebody being imprisoned for desalinating salt water which only government approved corporations are allowed to do. When did the United States of America turn into a system of convoluted laws banning any kind of freedom besides what movie you want to see?

  • K Edwards

    what a sorry piece of —that judge is..its America last I checked and you can do what you want on your own property !! Dont back down Robin take it all the way to the supreme court or just ignore him

  • North of the border

    Go build your own dwelling somewhere out in the sticks far away from civilization or on the outskirts in the bush if that’s what you want to do,and using a combustible fuel supply in a dwelling is just waiting for a major issue to happen,how many of you that are on her side are doing the same thing,talk about calling the kettle black,no wonder this society is so stupid nowadays!

    • Valerie Finnigan

      You do know that it actually is quite common to use combustible fuels for heating- oil, natural gas, and yes, propane. It’s not like what she’s doing is all that unusual.

    • kyle

      you are not intelligent. have you ever heard of natural gas stoves, hot water heaters, furnaces… just keep your opinions to yourself.

  • Forebearance

    This should tell all one needs to know about the government, the courts and the monopoly utility companies. They want Americans enslaved, dependent and open to being monitored and tracked 24-7. “Code violation” is just a euphemism for “You have to live your life the way WE tell you to!” Robin Speronis living off the grid does not affect me at all.

    Furthermore, if government officials were really interested in “the public welfare” they would not allow GMO food on grocery shelves, drugging schoolkids with brain-frying SSRI’s, BP oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico or all the crumbling infrastructure coast-to-coast that is endangering and costing American lives every day. This is just a protection racket of government and big business.

  • Robert

    Let’s ignore the fact that she was using public resources, namely the sewer line, without paying for it and that she installed an unapproved water system in her home that wasn’t up to code.

    Sewer is usually paid for your water bill. Guess what? If you don’t pay for services, you’re not entitled to use it.

    Furthermore, she shouldn’t have been stupid enough to install something in her home that wasn’t up to code. Go through the whole process if you don’t want a legal headache. To put it another way: I heavily support green energy, but I also don’t think Average Joe should start installing solar panels on his roof without getting it approved by the city and install it himself instead of getting a licensed electrician/contractor.

    Way to sensationalize this story while skipping all the relevant details.

    • Smart

      The article never stated she wasn’t paying for sewer services.

    • Smart

      Also, keep in mind, she’s not being fined for installing something that isn’t up to code. She’s being fined for not relying fully on municipal water and electric.

    • jimmy

      Who says she isn’t paying for it, please tell me. My sewage utility is completely separate from my water utility so whats to say her’s isn’t?

      The only code she is violating is that she is required to be connected to a municipal water system, even if your using rain water collection for your water supply. From what this article says she is completely up to code, it is an antiquated law that suddenly was applied to rainwater collection that got her in trouble. This is nothing more than another example of rich political greed not allowing anyone to truly take care of themselves anymore.

      • Joe Clam

        Jimmy, you’re arguing reason and sense with a complete statist imbecile who believes we must always secure government’s permission before any private undertaking, and be required to use “government licensed” providers to do work on our own property. In his thinking it’s completely natural to claim he “heavily supports” green energy on the one hand, but on the other insist you need “city approval” to put solar panels on your own roof. How the minds of such people function is a mystery to me. Ican’t fathom waking up in the morning and thinking, “well the sun is up and the birds are singing, let’s see what bright and wonderful activities my government has authorized for me today…”… I suspect being severely punished as a child for coloring outside the lines may be a possible cause..

  • Burt Wonderstone

    The pursuit of happiness, gets absolutely no respect from government there.

  • Loki Luck III

    Sorry Cape Coral, but Florida’s Constitution Article Section 2 entitled “Basic Rights” supersedes both City & International Maintenance Codes. Deep down inside… you know she’s right.

    • Robert

      Ah, another stupid moron who glosses over all the important details. Sure, let’s give her the right to install unapproved modifications to her home that aren’t up to city code and let her use services without paying for it.


      • RobertIsTheDevilEnemyOfEarth

        Oh yeah, you’re the genius. Fall on a sword.

        • Forebearance

          Maybe Robert will return to dazzle us all with more personal attacks and profanity in lieu of intelligent discourse. ;)

          • Joe Clam

            Robert is probably a city code enforcer himself…. or something in that vein..

          • Robert

            On a site run by two humanities majors that blog about topics beyond their level of comprehension like vaccines and GMOs, injecting their scientifically incorrect opinions as fact in every article? Intelligent discourse never existed on this site.

            • Dallas Townsend


              • obamatheloserliberalscumbag

                He is just here to educate you! LOL

            • Derek Stevenson

              Robert, you’ve yet to give any type of scientifically correct opinion regarding any of the matters at hand.

      • DivineFury

        “…and let her use services without paying for it.” You do realize the entire reason she isn’t paying for the services is because she provides them for herself? That’s the point. Dear god, put a little thought into things before you try to shoot blanks on someone’s face.

        • Robert

          Maybe you should read the articles from sites less braindead as this one. She was using the sewer system without paying for it. Sewer fees are tied into water bills, which she wasn’t paying. Seeing as how letting human shit compost in your backyard is also illegal and rightly against health codes in a packed modern home development, she was either using city services without paying for them or breaking health laws.

          • Wendy Hoy

            If the points you make here are true regards her nonpayment of utilities that she was using, the judge would have been able to find her liable for a basic sewage charge; and still upheld her human right to survive without forced dependence upon utilities that could in future become to expensive for her to afford. Every intelligent person looks for ways to live more economically. Most people IMHO cheat somehow and break rules and bylaws. I find the judge wanting in his exercise of duty here.

          • Justin Hephner

            sewer fees are not always tied to water bills. that is a very uninformed statement. My property for 25 years had an artesian well on it for water supply, but I was still hooked into the city sewer, ergo i had a sewer bill, from the municipal waste management, not a water bill.It is true that many municipalities tie water and sewer services into a single bill, that is definately not true everywhere. Also, it never said she wasn’t paying the sewer bill, it just said she was still using it,

          • Ralph Scavone

            Robert is one of the SHEEPLE,,,LOL…
            A government compliant drone.

          • ott

            I didn’t watch the video but I didn’t read anything in the text saying that she wasn’t paying ANY bills. Maybe she is paying her sewage bill?

          • Derek Stevenson

            Your a fuckin idiot, sewer fees are not tied to everyone’s water bill. Here in Lehigh, many of us have well pumps and city sewage. Pull your head out of your ass or invest in a glass stomach. Also, there is nothing wrong with human feces, if you didn’t know, many of the crops you eat, were fertilized with human feces. Again, pull your head out of your ass.

            • Jon Henry

              glass stomach? . . . he’d probably be just fine with a glass belly button . . . . LOL

            • Captain E Coli

              Exactly! Well… Except for Typhoid Fever. Other than typhoid fever there is absolutely nothing wrong with human feces….that and Cryptosporidium and E Coli otherwise nada….and clostridium Difficil.

              Come to think of it- there is absolutely no effort in Oregon or Washington State what-so-ever to combat toxic sludge from outhouses from the 1800′s.

          • whocares

            Watch the video, at 1:00 … it say’s, she was found NOT GUILTY of violating sewer codes (meaning, she must have been paying for the services she was using.) … she was only found guilty of violating the city water and electrical code, which are the two things she’s NOT using. …. and no where in the video or article does it state that her set up is non safe, or done improperly. That is a huge assumption on your part.

          • kilee

            I think we’ve found out whose a little bitch.

          • James Jjink

            you are an idiot you can have an outhouse even in todays police state

          • Heidi

            To be fair those aren’t the only options. The house my parents lived in up until 2009 only used well water AND a septic tank buried in the yard for waste collection. This was because they built a house out in the middle of nowhere agricultural land where that kind of infrastructure was never put in place for the growing neighborhoods in the area. I do recognize that she said she used the sewage system, but you say the only other thing she could be doing with her waste if it isn’t connected to sewage is to compost it. I’m merely pointing out there are means to deal with waste that do not involve connecting to sewage OR composting do exist.

          • Kate

            That’s the point Robert. Fee’s shouldn’t be tied to other fee’s. People should be allowed to only pay for services that they want. Not for services that some city officials tell us we MUST have. As for outhouses, (compost houses) It is only harmful if not maintained properly. An underground storage tank like in National Parks that can be off loaded is perfectly safe.

          • Cory Hoover

            it never said she didnt pay for sewer

          • Matt

            Compost is beneficial done properly. Haven’t you ever grown a garden or worked a day in your life? You are brain weak from too much industrial food. Also I get a discount on my water bill because of my backyard cesspool (not septic system). I save approximately $15 a month. Don’t mess with Texas.

          • Doorman60

            You are way behind the times….. You need to get some more information. Composting toilets can handle all solid waste and kitchen waste. Grey water is not much of a problem when handled correctly through filters. What is you trouble with this?

      • jimmy

        And you simply assume they are not up to city code because….??? There is a 95% chance that these new modifications where installed in complete compliance with safety and efficiency codes. These newly installed systems are probably better maintained and in better shape than most electrical wiring and water supplies in the USA. The only code she is violating is an antiquated law saying she has to be connected to the municipal water supply even if she doesn’t use it….because that’s logical.

        She has installed completely autonomous services (other than sewage, which she pays). Yet incompetent individuals like yourself scream like banshee’s that she is a free loader on the public dime. But you are completely blind to the fact she has taken care of herself and that everything she has installed meets a higher standard of efficiency and safety (as nearly all renewable energy does) than your antiquated heating/electrical system.

        TL:DR: She is nearly self sufficient and lives in a manor mostly off the grid, saving tax payers money and helping the environment. Yet she is in trouble on an antiquated technicality that would cost everyone more. And of course fucktards like you are caught on that. It’s like saying a doctor should should let a person die because they have and unpaid parking ticket.

        • jerry

          Water and sewer are NOT on separate bills.You MUST have a city water bill in order to pay for sewer.Whether or not you use it,there is a monthly fee for connection.A minimum is charged to you no matter what.It just seems like we are not getting the full story.

          • Keith Lacey

            That depends on where you are. My water and sewer bills are separate bills. I get billed once a month for water and once a quarter for trash and sewer. A lot of assuming going on here.

          • Brian Hager

            My sewer and water are also on separate bills!!! I assume she is paying the sewer bill!!

            • dcsmitty76

              mine are separate also….one water bill each month and one sewer bill every 3 months…

          • obamatheloserliberalscumbag

            So they are not on separate bills? BUT are they SEPARATE on the SAME BILL?

            If so then she is being charged for Sewage and the article does not say she doesn’t pay for it. The article leads me to believe she just doesn’t use the water and that makes them angry and so they fined her to get her money anyway. Sounds like Obamanomics to me.

          • JH

            Had water come from our well my whole life and they are on separate bills how do you explain that smart jerry?

      • Brian Hainsworth

        I agree her use of a camp stove is questionable (combustible fuel source in a multiple dwelling) but other than not possibly not filing for the correct building permits, what is at issue? Any number of public venues use solar to augment their power and using a rain water cistern? Where do you think drinking water comes from?
        If she isn’t violating any structural tolerances for her building specifically, and isn’t endangering anyone, there is no issue other than public utilities being afraid she’ll set a precedent to cost the
        m profits.

        • K Edwards

          point is its her property and she can do want she wants shes not hurting anyone else

        • citizen

          If her house was on propane…it would use a bigger stove…same danger.

      • DragonTattooz

        Did you really write “stupid moron”? ‘Nuf said.

      • Keith Lacey

        You ASSume a lot and provide no proof at all.

      • Wendy Hoy

        Robert, I don’t like it when people label others as “stupid idiot” . Name calling is a below-the-belt tactic used by those who don’t know how to discuss issues with civility. This leads me to suspect that you might be one of those “internet trolls” with nothing to do with your time other than post negative and demeaning words.

        • Justin Hephner

          discourtesy is the last refuge of the incompetent..

      • ognir

        Hey Robert there are these things called Double Negatives.
        Ever hear of them?
        …….Yeah, thats what I Thought.


      • dave

        how do you know they were unapproved? were you there when it happened? how do you know they arent upto the city code are you the building inspector? what services is she not paying for, are you stealing her mail and reading it? if you answer yes to any of these you are part of the problem robert, and by the sounds of it you are just pissed because someone else had a better idea than you do and is probably living comfortably of a part-time job and its just killing you to see that because you go to your dead end job everyday and get no where. sounds to me like your part of the problem actually you dont have to answer any of the questions!

      • Bill Wood

        Easy to call people names, insult, and criticize from behind a keyboard……Idiot.

      • Washichu Rehab

        Well done, serf. Here’s a cookie.

      • Steve White

        Really..Robert you have the nerve to call some one an IDIOT..some one putting solar panels on her roof so she does not have to use the electric is not a code violation..It’s assholes like you that make it hard for people to do what they want…crawl back under your rock and STFU

      • Tony Stalcup

        Best to keep your mouth shut & let others think your a fool, than to open it & provide them with proof ….

    • Kenneth Davis

      Composting toilets have been in use for decades and if properly used are perfectly safe. The heat of decomposition “Cooks” the byproduct and would actually heat water.

  • william haig

    “. . . she was in violation of city code as well as the International Property Maintenance Code.”

    Watch out for the SWAT teams – a freethinking individual such as her needs institutionalising pronto.

    • ColFD

      I hope she isn’t feeding the birds or growing a garden in the back yard.

    • really

      that’s right. It is legal there to kill kids why not kill for greed too…

  • Harry Tuttle

    “. . . she was in violation of city code as well as the International Property Maintenance Code.”

    International Property Maintenance Code!? That sounds like something a Global Government would enforce.

    • prlgrl

      Since when is our sovereign nation obligated to obey an “international” property code? Is this more Agenda 21 BS?

      • D

        Actually it’s the other way around – the ICC who wrote the ICMP are a US non-profit who are trying to push their standards outside of the US onto the rest of the world… Please do some research before speaking…

        • prlgrl

          You’ll notice I wasn’t making a statement. I was asking a question which you could have answered in an informative way, but no. You felt the need to be a freakin’ jerk about it. You should try to remember that everyone can’t know everything; that people only have so much time to do research; and that “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” If you want to win people to your cause, you need to stop being a fekking ahole.

        • James Jjink

          agenda 21 is un cliton global initive and iclei were both based on the agenda 21 standards

      • Darryl Motley

        we have been obligated to all international codes, laws, and regulations since the inception and return to centralized banking

        • citizen

          they should start enforcement in India if its International.