Jurisdiction of Civil Court (with example) [CPC 03]
Jurisdiction is one of the first matters to consider when a suit is presented before a court because if it is found that the suit does not fit to the jurisdiction of the court, then the court can not accept or try the suit even if there is no objection about the jurisdiction by any party. Jurisdiction is the power of a court predetermined by the government or by law.
What is Jurisdiction?
The code of civil procedure, 1908 does not define the term “jurisdiction” rather case laws come to rescue where the definition and classification of jurisdiction are needed.
In the case, Hriday Nath vs. Ram Chandra AIR 1921 Cal 34 given by the full bench by the Kolkata High Court sought to explain the term jurisdiction. It articulated that, ”jurisdiction may be defined to be the power of the court to hear and determine a case to adjudicate or exercise any judicial power in relation to it.”
In a plain text, it can be said that jurisdiction is the authority of a court to accept, try, and decide a case based on the power conferred on him, i.e. the subject matter, pecuniary value and local limits etc.
But it must be cleared that jurisdiction is not about the degree or order of the court, rather the right or power of a court to hear a case.
Kinds of jurisdiction
As held in Hirday Nath vs. Ram Chandra AIR 1921, Cal 34 jurisdiction of Civil Court can be classified in the following main categories.
- Subjective jurisdiction
- Territorial jurisdiction
- Pecuniary jurisdiction
There are a number of Civil Courts that are dedicated to deal with different kinds of suits of civil nature, i.e Assistant Judge Court, Small causes court, family court etc. for particular jurisdiction based on the subject matter. However, in CPC under section 9, it generally discusses the suit of civil nature without such classification. Section 9 of CPC states, The court shall have the jurisdiction to try all suits of civil nature unless expressly or impliedly barred.
Every Court has its local or territorial jurisdiction as defined by the government, courts cannot take or try any case that is outside of its territorial or local jurisdiction. Section 13 of Civil courts act, 1887 empowers the government to distribute territorial jurisdiction of the civil courts. The territorial jurisdiction of civil courts has mentioned under section 16 to section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
These sections cover in which local jurisdiction a suit would be filed and how to file a suit depending on the subject matter of the suit. These sections can be classified under two heading based on subject matter or nature of the suit;
- Immovable property (as subject matter)
- Movable property and others
Section 16: Suits to be instituted where the subject-matter (immovable property) is situated.
This section shall be applicable for following suits;
- (a) for the recovery of immovable property with or without rent or profits,
- (b) for the partition of immovable property,
- (c) for foreclosure, sale or redemption in the case of a mortgage of or charge upon immovable property,
- (d) for the determination of any other right to or interest in immovable property,
- (e) for compensation for wrong to immovable property,
- (f) for the recovery of the movable property actually under distraint or attachment
Section 17: Where the subject matter is situated in two or more separate district/area which jurisdiction (of Courts) is not same than the suit can be instituted in any of the court having the jurisdiction of any of those areas where the subject matter is situated.
Section 18: Where there is some confusion about the local jurisdiction of the subject matter or it is uncertain as to what would be the proper jurisdiction of the subject matter among two or more courts having complicated jurisdiction than one of such court upon the filing of the suit shall reckon with the suit and it shall have the same effect as the proper authority.
Section 19: Suit for compensation for wrong to person or movables
Where a Suit for compensation for the wrong done to a person or movable property then the suit shall be instituted where the defendant resides or carries on business or personally works for gain if these areas are different then one another then the plaintiff can choose from any one of them.
Section 20: Others suits to be instituted where defendants reside or cause of action arises
All civil courts are not the same, every civil court has its own pecuniary limits to try a suit, it can not take any suit which does not fall under its limit, this is known as pecuniary jurisdiction.
Section 6 of the CPC provides that the court will have jurisdiction only over those suits where the amount or value of the subject matter does not exceed the pecuniary limit of its jurisdiction. Additionally, in Section 15 mentioned, every suit shall be instituted in the court of the lowest grade competent to try.
According to the Civil Court act 1887, the present jurisdiction is as follows
- Suits amounting taka 1 – 200000 lies before the assistant judge court (Section 19)
- Suits amounting taka 200001 – 400000 lies before the senior assistant judge court (Section 19)
- Suits amounting taka 400001 – Unlimited lies before the Joint District Judge (Section 18)
Learn about these jurisdictions in Bangla, Click Here
Other Jurisdictions of civil court
Apart from the above classification, there are some more classification regarding jurisdiction;
- Original jurisdiction
- Appellate jurisdiction
- Revisional jurisdiction
- Transfer jurisdiction
Original jurisdiction of the court is the power of a court to hear a case for the first time. That means a fresh suit before a court for his consideration.
The following civil courts have original jurisdiction under the CPC.
- Court of assistant Judge
- Court of Senior Assistant Judge
- Court of Joint District Judge
These jurisdictions are the most recognized and accepted classifications of civil court jurisdiction but none the less there are some other important jurisdictions to consider.
It is the authority or power of the Superior Court to hear a case adjudicated by a lower court to resolve any grievances of any concerned person.
In CPC more about appeal has been discussed under section 96 to 106 and under order 41 and order 43. The District Judge Court, High Court division and the appellate division of Bangladesh Supreme Court has the appellate jurisdiction over their subordinate courts.
Review is the power to examine the decision of a court by the same court to clarify an error and to prevent the gross miscarriage of Justice. Section 114 of CPC gives a substantive right of review and order 47 provided the procedure for review. A review can be filed where there is no provision of appeal or where there is the provision of appeal but it is not preferred.
Revision is a purely discretionary power, which is exercised by high court division to correct the mistake of justice. The provision of revision has been laid down under section 115 of CPC. The district court and the high court divisions hold the power of revision.
When a subordinate court deals with a suit at the beginning or at any state that suit the higher court, more specifically, the High Court Division or the District court with their transferral authority can transfer or withdraw that suit.
This is a general power of District Court and High Court division, this power is conferred on them to make the judicial process fair and more balanced. The procedures are given under section 22 to Section 24 in CPC.
Section 22: Where a suit may be instituted in any one of two or more Courts and is instituted in one of such Courts the defendant can raise objection and request for transfer via an application.
Section 23: Where the several Courts having jurisdiction are subordinate to the same Appellate Court, an application under section 22 shall be made to the Appellate Court.
Section 24: General power of transfer and withdraw
Both the High Court Division and the Court of District Judge has a general power to withdraw or transfer any suit at any stage of their subordinate court. They can do it by suo-moto or when any such application is submitted before them.
In addition, section 11 of The Civil Courts Act, 1887 provides the power of transferral jurisdiction on District Judge in the event of the death, resignation or removal of a Judge or when he becomes incapable for illness or otherwise for the performance of his duties, or of his absence from the place at which his Court is held. also under section 22 of the same act District judge can transfer this power on an appealed suit [under him].
As this article already showed the basics of jurisdiction solving a problem could be the best way to understand the practical application of jurisdiction.
Problem Question – Example
P was a patient hailed from Noakhali District. As per the prescription of a doctor a, who was practising at Chittagong, P Purchased some medicines from the store of R at Chittagong? After taking those medicines P died at Lakshimpur. A pharmacist of Dhaka informed the son of deceased P that those medicines were adulterated and manufactured at a factory in Dhaka owned by S by using the materials supplied by T, who was a resident of Kushtia. The deceased’s son wants to file a suit. In which Court, against whom and what type of suit may be filed? Justify your answer. [9th BJS]
Let’s find the answer step by step with liberal analysis
What type of suit?
As we are discussing under CPC the suit must be a civil suit, therefore we can sue for compensation under section 19 of CPC.
Well, this is a critical part to analyse if we consider that the doctor who prescribed the medicine, the owner of medicine shop “R” did not have any knowledge that the medicines were adulterated and it is not mentioned that supplier of material “T” supplied wrong material so they can be excluded from the list of the defendant but as the duty of manufacturer “S” is to provide a safe product and he either intentionally or negligently failed to perform his duty, therefore, he shall be liable for compensation.
In which court?
To answer this question at first we need to understand the nature of the suit, that we already determined, it will be a suit for compensation. After that, we have to find the local jurisdiction of where we can sue the defendant; in this regard section, 19 shall be used, in a simple language section 19 articulated, Where a Suit for compensation for the wrong done to person or movable property then the suit shall be instituted where the defendant resides or carries on business or personally works for gain. In this case, our defendant carries out his business at Dhaka, therefore, a civil court of Dhaka shall be the court to sue but to be more specific we have to consider the amount of compensation the deceased son “P” is demanding, let’s say “P” want to sue for 5 lac taka. Now the pecuniary jurisdiction comes to play, if we look at the pecuniary jurisdiction part again we will see for this amount the lowest court competent to try is a Joint District Judge of Dhaka.
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You may also read our Bangla Article on this topic.