Nailesh H. Doshi Vs G. P. Pharma And Others All India High Court Cases 1913

lawzmag.comThe brief facts of the case are that the Plaintiff filed suit for recovery against three defendants. Defendant No.1 and 2 were set ex-partee. The Defendant No.3 filed an application under Order 14 Rule 2 read with Order 7 Rule 10 of the Civil Procedure Code to return the Plaint for presenting before the proper court. In the affidavit filed in support of the said petition it is stated that the suit has been filed on the basis of an agreement said to have been entered on July 19, 1995 between the Plaintiffs and Defendant No.1. As per clause 12 of the said agreement, all the disputes between the parties are subject to  Pune jurisdiction and therefore the court has no jurisdiction to decide the suit. Accordingly  Defendant No.3 contended that it is necessary either to return the Plaint for presentation before the proper Court at Pune or in the alternative the suit shall be dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

Where under the law several Courts have concurrent jurisdiction it is open for the parties to submit themselves to one of the Courts having jurisdiction

The plaintiffs opposed the said application. In counter it was stated that under the letter cum agreement, dated July 19, 1995, Plaintiff No.1 was appointed as super distributor for the products of Defendant No.1 in the districts of Mahabubnager, Kurnool and Anatapur. The said agreement was executed at Hyderabad and was delivered to Plaintiff No.1 at Hyderabad. Thus the entire cause of action arose within the jurisdiction f the Court at Hyderabad. Further since Defendant No.1’s company has its branch office at Hyderabad and since the entire transaction was routed through the said branch office, i.e. Defendant No.2, the objection raised by Defendant No.3 as to the jurisdiction of the Court at Hyderabad is unsustainable.

The court below having considered the rival contentions by order dated October 16, 2000 dismissed the application, holding that the Court has jurisdiction to try the suit. Aggrieved by the said order Defendant No.3 preferred this Civil Revision Petition. The Learned Counsel for the revision petitioner, Defendant No.3, contended that since the entire suit is based on the agreement dated July 19, 1995, both the parties are bound by the specific clause that the agreement is subject to Pune jurisdiction only and therefore the jurisdiction of the Court at Hyderabad is ousted. He contented that the court below failed to properly appreciate the facts of the case and erroneously dismissed the application on irrelevant and extraneous grounds. He further contended that the suit is not maintainable and liable to be returned for presentation in proper Court.

On the other hand the Learned Counsel for the respondents/plaintiff submitted that no part of the suit transaction took lace at Pune and even the branch office of Defendant No.1 is located at Hyderabad, and the agreement was signed and executed at Hyderabad and therefore the suit is properly presented in the Court at Hyderabad. He contented that the conclusion of the Court below that the jurisdiction of the Courts at Hyderabad is not ousted is in accordance with the settled principles of law and therefore the order under revision does not warrant any interference.

If the clause under the agreement is clear and unambiguous and explicit, it can be concluded that the jurisdiction of the other court or courts is ousted

The Hon’ble High Court, after hearing the arguments of both the sides, stated that as per Section 20 of Civil Procedure Code every suit shall be instituted in a court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the defendant actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business. As per clause (c) the suit can also be instituted in a Court within the limits of whose jurisdiction the cause of action wholly or in part arises.

Further, it is well settled that where under the law several Courts have concurrent jurisdiction it is open for the parties to submit themselves to one of the Courts having jurisdiction. However, the parties, by agreement, cannot confer jurisdiction on a court which lacks jurisdiction to decide the23 and 28 of the Contract Act and cannot be enforced. Therefore, while determining the issue whether the agreement between the parties to submit themselves to a particular Court is binding and enforceable, the first question to be considered is whether the Court has the jurisdiction to try the case. The next question to be considered is whether the particular clause under the agreement has absolutely ousted he jurisdiction of the other courts. If the clause under the agreement is clear and unambiguous and explicit, it can be concluded that the jurisdiction of the other court or courts is ousted of course, subject to the condition that such a clause does not allow the parties to submit themselves to a court which lacks jurisdiction. case is void, being against public policy. Such an agreement is also hit by Sections.

In the instant case, Clause 12 of the agreement contains exclusive word “only.” The clause is unambiguous and it clearly and explicitly excludes the jurisdiction of the other Courts.

Thus the Courts at Pune also have the jurisdiction to decide the case and it cannot be said that the parties have contracted against the statue. The agreement is not hit by Sections 23 and 28 of the Contract Act since the Courts to which the parties have agreed to confer jurisdiction is a competent court which can entertain the suit.

Thus, finally, it was held that since the plaintiffs have agreed to vest the jurisdiction on the court situated at Pune, they are not entitled to institute the suit in a court at Hyderabad. Hence it was rightly contended by the revision petitioner/ defendant No.3, the Court at Hyderabad has no jurisdiction to try the suit and the plaint is liable to be returned for presentation in proper court.

 

 

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