Any statute ousting the jurisdiction of Civil Court is required to be strictly construed

High Court of Himachal Pradesh: A Single Judge Bench of Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J. dismissed a Regular Second Appeal holding that in the instant case, jurisdiction of the Civil Courts was ousted by Section 171 of the Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act, 1954; and there was no substantial question of law that arose to be considered by the High Court.
The appellants questioned the partition proceedings right up till the Court of the Financial Commissioner; and thereafter filed a suit for declaration, permanent prohibitory and mandatory injunction before the trial court. One of the issues framed by the learned trial court was with regard to the jurisdiction of the civil court to entertain such kind of a suit, particularly in view of the bar as imposed by Section 171 of the aforementioned Act. The learned trial court held that it had no jurisdiction, particularly when the appellants had failed to prove the violation of any provisions of the Act or even violation of the principles of natural justice. Appellants filed an appeal before the learned first appellate court, which too, came to be dismissed. The appellants then filed the instant appeal, again questioning therein the impugned orders.
The High Court perused Section 171 of the Act and decisions of the Supreme Court and observed that the statute ousting the jurisdiction of the civil court is required to be strictly construed. It was also noticed that the appellants had not sought declaration of the title rather they had filed the suit with the allegation that the partition was not properly effected as they were not allotted any land by the road side. This obviously was a matter which lay entirely within the purview of the revenue authorities under the Act. The findings recorded by the learned courts below were based on the correct appreciation of the pleadings and evidence and were pure findings of fact which were immune from challenge in a second appeal. No question of law much less substantial question of law arose for consideration in the instant appeal. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed. [Ajudhia Devi v. Dhian Singh, 2017 SCC OnLine HP 1522, order dated 4.10.2017]

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