BY-Jahnvi Srivastava

BACKGROUND (Civil Court Jurisdiction)

It is said that if the  statutes laid down the fact to recognise the orders of Special Tribunal then the Jurisdiction Civil Court will be excluded in addition to if there is an adequate remedy to be given like what the civil courts would normally give in any suit. But certain cases where the provisions of a particular act do not compile with/or the statutory tribunal do not fall in line with the fundamental principles of judicial procedure do not escape the jurisdiction of civil courts.

According to section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure the civil courts are empowered to try all civil courts unless barred. It further enhances that the courts are vested with jurisdiction to try all the cases of civil nature (subjected to the provision contained therein) and excepting the suits in which the cognizance is expressly or impliedly barred.

In the case of Dhulabhai Vs. The state of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 1969 SC 78 ,  the test which is to be adopted while deciding upon a case of Ouster of Civil Court Jurisdiction was summarized by the Constitution bench in 1968 in the above mentioned case. In this case it was held that if special tribunal provides adequate remedy according to statutes then jurisdiction of civil courts can be excluded, as mentioned above.


CURRENT ISSUE ( Civil Court Jurisdiction )

In the recent case of Hariharasudhan Vs. R. Karmegam the Supreme Court of India restated the principles that were stated in the constitutional bench judgement. Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Ajay Rastogi headed the Constitution bench,  and the issue to be delt according to them was weather the suit filled for damages is maintainable under the provision of the Tamil Nadu Property Act ( Prevention of Damage and Loss) , 1992 which further depends upon if the jurisdiction of civil court is excluded.

The constitutional bench referred to the principles that we’re stated in the case of Dhulabhai vs State of Madhya Pradesh which are as follows:

  1. If adequate remedy is given by the special tribunals in accordance with the statutes like that of civil courts in any suit then the jurisdiction of civil courts can be excluded but it does not include those cases in which the provision of a particular act is not compiled and are not in line with the fundamental principles of judicial procedure.
  2. If there is an express bar of jurisdiction of court, wherein the  scheme of a particular act is examined to find the accuracy or to see whether sufficient remedy is provided and may be relevant but is not final to sustain the Civil Court ’s Jurisdiction.

In case where there is no express exclusion , there the examination and scheme of a particular act to find the true intend of an act is becomes important and the result of the enquiry may be final. In such a case it becomes important to see whether the statutes create a special right or liability and further provides for the same and further lays down that all questions regarding rights and liabilities be determined by the tribunals and if remedies are like that of civil courts according to the said statutes or not.

  • Any challenge to the provisions laid down in a particular act as ultra virus can not be heard by the tribunals that are constituted under that act. Also even HC can not be questioned for revision or reference from the decision of tribunals.
  • When a particular provision is held unconstitutional or the constitutionality of any such provision is to be challenged then a suit is open.
  • Where any particular act consist of no machinery for refund of the tax collected that is in excess of the constitutional limits or is collected illegal then a suit is open.
  • The suit does not lie if the decisions of the authorities are declared to be final or if there is a express prohibition in the particular act. Or in cases where correctness of assessment is apart from its constitutionality then in either of the cases the scheme of that act must be examined as it is a relevant enquiry
  • Unless the above conditions are not set down no case shall escape the jurisdiction of civil courts.

In the above case the  bench examined the scheme of the act and it was held by the bench that it does not stand in place and the claim for damages under the common law may fall before a civil court in a civil suit.



The term jurisdiction has been derived from Latin word “juris” and “dicto” which means “I speak by the law”. Jurisdiction gives the power to the courts hear and decide upon cases to adjudicate and exercise the jurisdiction power. The same can not be taken away or ousted by the consent of parties. In particular of civil jurisdiction it means jurisdiction of all civil matters except those for which the tribunals are constituted under some special statutes. Expressly barred means barred by act of legislature whereas impliedly barred means barred by the general principles of equity and law on the grounds of public policy.


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