CPC Mains Questions

Q. What do you understand by “a suit of Civil Nature” ? When may exclusion of Civil Court’s jurisdiction be inferred ? Give two examples. [MPCJ 2009]

Ans.   Section 9 of the CPC gives statutory recognition to the equitable principles “Ubi jus ibi remedium and Equity shall not suffer without remedy”. This is also reflected in the use of expression “a suit of civil nature” which is distinguishable from expression “Civil Suit” simpliciter with an avowed objective to confer upon the civil court a widest possible subject matter jurisdiction. On such wider scope of the civil court’s jurisdiction, the Hon’ble Apex court has held in P.M.A Metropolitan v M M Merthona AIR 1995 SC 2001 that the expansive nature of the Section 9 is demonstrated by use of phraseology both positive and negative. The earlier part of the section opens the door widely and latter part debars the entry to only those matters which are expressly or impliedly barred. Similarly, the Explanation I & II appended to the section 9 of the cpc further widens the scope of jurisdiction by stating that a suit in which the right to property or religious office is involved it would be a suit of civil nature irrespective of the fact that no fees are attached to such offices. Thus, under section 9 of CPC the Civil Courts have inherent jurisdiction with respect to all types of civil disputes, unless a part of that jurisdiction is carved out either expressly or by necessary implication by any statutory provision and conferred on other Tribunal or Authority etc.

As to exclusion of the jurisdiction of the civil court by inference or impliedly, the golden principle is that it is not readily to be inferred unless the party who alleges the ouster of the jurisdiction of the civil court clearly establishes the same. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Dhulabhai v. State of Madhya Pradesh A.I.R. 1969 S.C. 78 has illustrated following circumstances when an ouster of the civil court’s jurisdiction may be inferred.

Where the statute gives finality to the orders of the special tribunals the Civil Courts’ jurisdiction must be held to be excluded if there is adequate remedy to do what the Civil Courts would normally do in a suit. Such provision, however, does not exclude those cases where the provisions of the particular Act have not been complied with or the statutory tribunal has not acted in conformity with the fundamental principles of judicial procedure.

Where a statute is a complete code and creates a special right or a liability and provides for the determination of such right or liability and further lay down that all questions about the said right and liability shall be determined by the tribunals so constituted.