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Jurisdiction Of A Civil Court (Sec 9) Of Civil Procedure Code

Meaning of Jurisdiction
The term jurisdiction has been no where defined in the code of civil procedure it is to say that civil procedure code do not provide any definition of the term jurisdiction . The term jurisdiction has been derived from two latin terms i.e juris + dicto which translates as 'I speak by law '. Jurisdiction refers to power , authority of the court of law to try , Hear and adjudicate upon the matter brought before it.

Term jurisdiction however has not been defined in the code but has been evolved by the judiciary in series of cases.

Official trustee v. Sachindranath (A.I.R 1969)

In this case it was held that jurisdiction not only involves power to hear the matter at hand but must include authority to adjudicate the question at issue as well .

The very famous principle of English common law 'ubi jus ebi remedium' which translates as "wherever there is a right there is remedy" is the principle which is inculcated in the Indian legal system as well. Accordingly any litigant who is having a grievance of civil nature can file or institute a civil suit in the court competent unless the jurisdiction is expressly or impliedly barred by a statute in force as held in the case of (Abdul Waheed Khan v. Bhawani (A.I.R (1966))

Jurisdiction of civil court (section 9) of code of civil procedure
After a bare reading of section 9 of the code and further after breaking down the section it means:

A civil court has jurisdiction to try a suit if following mentioned conditions are satisfied:
  1. If suit is of civil nature and,
  2. Unless it's cognizance is not expressly or impliedly barred by any statue in force.

Suit of civil nature

Suit of civil nature particularly refers to private rights and obligations of the parties i.e principal question in the suit is pertaining to civil nature as a gen rule. If the principal question in a suit is pertaining to caste or religion or political question then it will not be considered to be a suit of civil nature however if principal question in a suit is pertaining to civil nature but it's adjudication incidentally involves determination of caste or religion question as well then civil court will not be barred to try such suit and such suit shall not be barred to be a suit of civil nature within the meaning of this section as held in the case of Sinha ramanuja v. Ranga ramanuja A.I.R(1961)

Suits of civil nature within the meaning of section 9 of the code:
  • Suits relating to right in property
  • Suits relating to restitution of conjugal rights
  • Suits for dissolution of marriage
  • Suits pertaining to rents
  • Suits for damages for civil wrong
  • Suits for specific performance of contract
  • Suits for specific reliefs

Suits which are not suits of civil nature within the meaning of section 9 of the code:
  • Suits purely involving questions pertaining to religious rites and ceremonies
  • Suits involving caste question
  • Suits pertaining to expulsion from caste .

Cognizance expressly or impliedly barred

Cognizance expressly barred:

Cognizance is said to be expressly barred when it is bared by a statute or legislation in force.

Any matter or any dispute brought before the court falls within the jurisdiction of revenue court , consumer court ,rent tribunal , income tax tribunal is expressly barred from the cognizance of the civil court however if the remedy sought for by the plaintiff is inadequately provided by the above mentioned tribunals established by statues in force then in such a case the jurisdiction of civil court is not barred .

Cognizance impliedly barred:

Cognizance is said to be impliedly barred if it is barred by the general principles of law.
  • If particular remedy has been provided by a statute then the insistence of any other form of remedy by the claimant is impliedly barred.
  • When an act creates obligation and performance of such obligation in a certain manner then in that case the performance cannot be enforced in any other manner.
  • Certain suits even though of civil nature but are barred on the ground of application of res-judicata or on the ground of against public policy.
Presumption of jurisdiction
Presumption has to be made in the favour of the civil court and prima facie it is inferred that the civil court in which the suit is instituted has the jurisdiction to try such a suit .the exclusion of the jurisdiction of the civil court to hear a particular matter should not be readily inferred however in the Bhatia co-op housing society case it was held that a civil court has inherent power to decide the fact that whether it has jurisdiction or not to deal , decide and entertain the matter which has came before it at the same time it is duty of the court to Suo moto consider the bar of jurisdiction even if no such plea is raised by the parties .

In A. R Antulay. R S Nayak
It was held that it is well settled principle that consent can neither confer nor take away jurisdiction of a court

In Harshad chi man lal v. DLF universal Ltd
It was held that decree passed by a court without jurisdiction is Coram non Judice i.e nullity

In Abdulla bin Ali v. Gallappa (A.I.R 1985)
Jurisdiction is determined on the basis of allegation made by the plaintiff in the plaint not on the basis of defense taken by the defendant in the written statement.

Maintainability of a suit in a civil court depends upon its jurisdiction to entertain such suit . So far so good the suit is of civil nature the jurisdiction is not barred, suit is maintainability, triable and can be easily adjudicated in the court of law .If prima facie the suit is not of civil nature then court has inherent power to decide the fact of jurisdiction and come on conclusion as to whether it is maintainable or not ? In the court of lowest grade competent to try it.  

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