Before going to the core discussion of the code of civil procedure 1908 with reference to jurisdiction of civil courts in India, it would be more interesting to note the meaning of “Jurisdiction”. The code of Civil Procedure does not define the term jurisdiction. In fact none of the substantive or procedural seeks to define the term jurisdiction.

According to  the common parlance the term jurisdiction means the power of the courts to decide and try  a case or issue.

According to the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court in a full judgement in Hirday Nath vs RAM Chandra the term jurisdiction was seek to be explained as “jurisdiction may be defined to be the power of the court to hear and determine a cause, to adjudicate and exercise any judicial power in relation to it.

However the term jurisdictions has been demarcated in three categories of jurisdictions- subject matter jurisdiction i.e whether the particular court in question has the jurisdictions to deal with  the subject matter in question; territorial jurisdictions, i.e whether the court can decide upon matters within the territory or area where the cause of action arose and pecuniary jurisdictions i.e whether the court can hear a suit of the value of the suit in questions.

Before going more further, it must be mentioned that the jurisdiction of the court is not whether the court is entitled to pass a decree or order in a suit. It is whether the court has the right to hear the case. The court shall have jurisdictions to try all suits of civil nature excepting suits of which their cognizance is expressly or impliedly barred.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has laid down the rules that the plea of absence of jurisdiction can be raised and entertained at any stage. In the absence of clarity in this point, the author believes that the plea of the absence of jurisdiction should be allowed only at any point of the case when in the court of first instance, and not in any appeal subsequent to it. Allowing such plea in appeal might be misused by the appellant having lost the suit in the lower court. Like jurisdiction, there is no definition of a civil suit in any act. However, the suit in which the principal question relates to civil right is a civil suit. The jurisdictions of civil courts depend upon the variety of factors which determines which court shall have the power to  try the issue –

  1. Subject matter of the suit
  2. Cause of action
  3. Where the plaintiff resides or where there are more than one plaintiffs then in any one of the place where the plaintiff resides.
  4. Where the defendant resides or where there are more than one defendants then in any of the place where the defendants resides.

Subhajit Chakraborty



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