Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The single judge bench of V. Ramasubramanian, J has held that

  • the issue of jurisdiction of a court to try an “offence” or “offender” as well as the issue of territorial jurisdiction, depend upon facts established through evidence;
  • if the issue is one of territorial jurisdiction, the same has to be decided with respect to the various rules enunciated in sections 177 to 184 of the Code; and
  • these questions may have to be raised before the court trying the offence and such court is bound to consider the same.

DETERMINATION OF JURISDICTION OF CIVIL COURTS VIS-À-VIS CRIMINAL COURTS

While jurisdiction of a civil court is determined by (i) territorial and (ii) pecuniary limits, the jurisdiction of a criminal court is determined by (i) the offence and/or (ii) the offender. But the main difference between the question of jurisdiction raised in civil cases and the question of jurisdiction arising in criminal cases, is two-fold i.e.

CIVIL COURT

CRIMINAL COURT

The stage at which an objection as to jurisdiction, territorial or pecuniary, can be raised, is regulated in civil proceedings by Section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. There is no provision in the Criminal Procedure Code akin to Section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
In civil proceedings, a plaint can be returned, under Order VII, Rule 10, CPC, to be presented to the proper court, at any stage  of  the  proceedings But in criminal proceedings, a limited power is available to a Magistrate under section 201 of the Code, to return a complaint.  The power is limited in the sense that:

 

  1. it is available before taking cognizance, as section 201 uses the words “Magistrate who is not competent to take cognizance”
  2. the power is limited only to complaints, as the word “complaint”, as defined by section 2(d), does not include a “police report”.

“TRIES AN OFFENCE” VERSUS “TRIES AN OFFENDER” UNDER SECTION 461(l) CrPC, WHICH IS MORE APPROPRIATE?

The rules relating to territorial jurisdiction are given in Chapter XIII in detail. However, it is in that Chapter XXXV that one has to search for an answer to the question as to what happens when a court which has no territorial jurisdiction, inquires or tries an offence.

A cursory reading of Section 461(l) and Section 462 gives an impression that there is some incongruity. Under Clause (l) of Section 461 if a Magistrate not being empowered by law to try an offender, wrongly tries him, his proceedings shall be void.

“A proceeding which is void under Section 461 cannot be saved by Section 462.”

The focus of clause (l) of Section 461 18 is on the “offender” and not on the “offence”. If clause (l) had used the words “tries an offence” rather than the words “tries an offender”, the consequence might have been different.

Section 460, which lists out nine irregularities that would not vitiate the proceedings, uses the word “offence” in three places namely clauses (b), (d) and (e).  Section 460 does not use the word “offender” even once. On the contrary Section 461 uses the word ‘offence’ only once, namely in clause (a), but uses the word “offender” twice namely in clauses (l) and (m).

“Therefore, it is clear that if an offender is tried by a Magistrate not empowered by law in that behalf, his proceedings shall be void under Section 461. Section 462 does not make the principle contained therein to have force notwithstanding anything contained in Section 461.”

Hence, the jurisdiction of a criminal Court is normally relatable to the offence and in some cases, to the offender, such as cases where the offender is a juvenile (section 27) or where the victim is a women [the proviso to clause (a) of section 26]. But Section 461(l) focuses on the offender and not on the offence. The saving clause contained in Section 462 of the Code of 1973 is in pari materia with Section 531 of the Code of 1898.

Considering the aforementioned scheme of CrPC, the Court held that the words “tries an offence” are more appropriate than the words “tries an offender” in section 461 (l). This is because, lack of jurisdiction to try an offence cannot be cured by section 462 and hence section 461, logically, could have included the trial of an offence by a Magistrate, not empowered by law to do so, as one of the several items which make the proceedings void.

“In contrast, the trial of an offender by a court which does not have territorial jurisdiction, can be saved because of section 462, provided there is no other bar for the court to try the said offender (such as in section 27). But Section 461 (l) makes the proceedings of a Magistrate void, if he tried an offender, when not empowered by law to do.”

[Kaushik Chatterjee v. State of Haryana, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 793, decided on 30.09.2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Najmi Waziri, J., while addressing the present matter considered the following issues:

Whether elections to the Board of Directors of a company; allegations of oppression and mismanagement; wrongful appointment of an Ombudsman in violation of Articles of Association could be adjudicated by a civil court

OR

Whether jurisdiction vests exclusively with the National Company Law Tribunal?

Background

Appeal under Sections 104 and 151 read with Order XLIII Rule 1 CPC, impugns an order of the ADJ, Tis Hazari Courts, New Delhi whereby the appellant’s two applications were dismissed and the interim injunction sought by the plaintiff was granted.

Contention of the appellant

Appellant submits that the suit is not maintainable before a Civil Court because of the bar placed on Civil Courts by Section 430 of the Companies Act, 2013.

Section 430 of the Companies Act, 2013

Civil court not to have jurisdiction:

No civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which the Tribunal or the Appellate Tribunal is empowered to determine by or under this Act or any other law for the time being in force and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act or any other law for the time being in force, by the Tribunal or the Appellate.” The effect of the aforesaid provision is that in matters in respect of which power has been conferred on the NCLT, the jurisdiction of the civil court is completely barred.

Appellant also relied on the decision of this Court in SAS Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. v. Surya Constructions Pvt. Ltd., 2018 SCC Online Del 11909, wherein it was observed that,

“The bar contained in Section 430 of the 2013 Act is in respect of entertaining “any suit”, or “any proceedings” which the NCLT is “empowered to determine”.”

Appellant also relied on the decision of Madras High Court in Viji Joseph v. P. Chander, 2019 SCC OnLine Mad 10424 wherein the Court examined an election dispute under Section 20 of the Companies (Management and Administration) Rules, 2014, involving the maintainability of the election of the Board of Directors through electronic means.

After analyzing Section 242 and other circumstances pertaining to the case, Madras High Court concluded that only the Tribunal had powers to deal with the issue raised in the suit and the civil court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Issues raised in the present matter

Challenging matters relating to the AGM, the Board of Directors of the appellant company, the appointment of an ombudsman and other related issues.

The Madras High Court Decision as referred above has also discussed the expanse of Section 430 of the Companies Act, 2013.

Senior Advocate for the appellant submits that the Companies Act and the National Company Law Tribunal Rules, 2016, are together a complete code. Ample power has been provided to the NCLT – akin to a civil court – to deal with all issues for which powers have been conferred upon the Tribunal.

Further, the appellant submitted that, in the present case, the process of election to the Board of Directors/Members of the Apex Council, has been challenged because of it being allegedly contrary to the procedure laid down in the AoA and the notice calling for the AGM, and that the elections were held on the basis of a voice vote instead of paper ballot, contrary to what was mentioned in the AGM notice.

Hence, the High Court on perusal of the above stated that Sections 241, 242 and 244 of the Companies Act deal with the issues raised in the present suit.

NCLT has been specifically conferred powers to address grievances relating to the affairs of the company, which may be prejudicial or oppressive to any member of the company, or for issues of appointment of directors.

The appointment of an Ombudsman, would also form a part of the conduct and management of the affairs of the company.

Supreme Court in its’ decision in Shashi Prakash Khemka v. NEPC Micon, 2019 SCC Online SC 223 discussed the scope of Section 430 and stated the same to be vast and the jurisdiction of the civil court to be completely barred when the power to adjudicate vests in the Tribunal.

Therefore, the lis and grievances raised in the present suit can be agitated only before the NCLT as the civil court would have no jurisdiction.

The appeal was allowed. [Delhi & District Cricket Association v. Sudhir Kumar Aggarwal,  2020 SCC OnLine Del 1223, decided on 21-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: R. Narayana Pisharadi, J. dismissed a petition praying for quashing the criminal proceedings against the petitioner initiated under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 when a simultaneous arbitration proceeding was going on against the petitioner in a civil court.

The petitioner was a surety for one, M.L. George, who had subscribed for four of the respondent company’s chitties and defaulted in paying a certain balance amount. As surety for George, the petitioner was supposed to pay the balance amount to the respondent company on his default. The petitioner failed to pay the amount owed by Mr George to the respondent company and hence a complaint was filed against the petitioner under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The counsels for petitioner P.V. Kunhikrishnan and P.V. Anoop contended that the averments in the complaint do not constitute the ingredients of the offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. Further, it was contended that the initiation of the arbitration proceedings at the instance of the respondent affected the maintainability of the complaint filed against the petitioner for an offence punishable under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The Court did not find any merit in the contentions of the petitioner and hence rejected the petitioner’s contentions. Reliance was placed on the case of Sri Krishna Agencies v. State of A.P., (2009) 1 SCC 69 where the Supreme Court, setting aside the order of the High Court for quashing proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, on the grounds of simultaneous arbitration proceeding, held that disputes to arbitration could not be an effective substitute for a criminal prosecution when the disputed act is an offence. It must, however, be elementary that the two are based on the independent cause of action.

Hence, the Court consequently dismissed the petition and allowed both criminal and civil proceedings simultaneously against the petitioner. [Bindhu A.V. v. Sree Gokulam Chit And Finance Co. (P) Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 198, decided on 17-01-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A. Muhamed Mustaque, J. dismissed a petition challenging the order of Appellate Authority under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. 

The case of the petitioner is that her father executed a gift deed in her favour in 2014, thereafter filed an application in the Maintenance Tribunal under Section 23 of the MWPSC Act to revoke the said gift deed on the ground that his daughter is not providing him with necessary facilities to protect his well being. The Tribunal declined the father’s prayer but ordered the daughter (petitioner herein) to provide necessary facilities to her father to protect his well being. The father approached the appellate authority against the said order. The Appellate Authority allowed his appeal and granted revocation of the gift deed. Aggrieved thereby, the instant petition was filed in this Court.

Sri G. Harikumar, appearing on behalf of the petitioner argued that Section 23 can be attracted only in case of admission of a valid transfer. However, the respondent in the application stated that the deed was fraudulently obtained by undue influence and coercion. Thus, it is a case of civil dispute and shall be resolved by a civil court and not by Maintenance Tribunal.

Sri B.N.Shivsankar, appearing on behalf of the respondents relied on the object of the MWPSC Act. In addition to this, it was argued that the transfer of property of a senior citizen by way of gift is subject to providing basic amenities and if these are not provided the deed can be revoked under Section 23 of the MWPSC Act. 

The Court looked into the scope and object of the Act and accepted the respondent’s contention. The parliament enacted MWPSC Act to uphold the dignity and respect of a senior citizen at the time of old age. It relied on deontological moral theory of legislation and said that there are a certain type of actions which have universal acceptance. The Court also said that the tribunal has a duty to elicit the truth by adopting an inquisitorial approach as the act is not intended at dispute resolution but to promote measures to secure the welfare and interest of the senior citizens and parents. 

Relying on Radhamani v. State of Kerala, 2015 SCC OnLine Ker 33530, the Court held that there is no requirement of a written stipulation to effect that the transferee maintains the transferor. The tribunal should look at the circumstances under which the deed was executed.

Based on the following grounds the Court set aside the order of the Appellate Authority and remitted back the matter for reconsideration by the Tribunal. It also ordered that since the respondent is residing abroad, the Tribunal can hold sessions over electronic media.[G.S. Manju v. K.N. Gopi, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 5363, decided on 10-10-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: This petition was filed before the Bench of Vivek Rusia, J.

Facts of the case were such that petitioners are daughters of respondent who had sold his property to other respondents. After the sale was concluded one of the respondent to whom the property was sold filed an application under Sections 109 and 110 of M.P. Land Revenue Code, 1959 before the Tehsildar seeking mutation of his name which was allowed.

Petitioner being aggrieved by the same filed an appeal before the Sub-Divisional Officer Revenue, Garoth. SDO allowed the appeal and set aside the order passed by Tehsildar on the ground that the Tehsildar did not inquire about the status of the property if it was a self-earned property or ancestral property before passing the order of mutation. Being aggrieved by the order of SDO an appeal was preferred before the Additional Commissioner who set aside the order passed by SDO and therefore confirming the order of Tehsildar, hence, this petition was filed.

It was brought before Court that petitioners had already filed a Civil Suit challenging the sale deed which was executed by respondent in favour of one of the other respondent claiming their right and title over the property.

High Court observed the settled law that the orders passed by the Revenue Authority were not binding on the Civil Court and Revenue Court could not have decided the title of the property. Court viewed that lest a Civil Suit is pending the issues raised in this petition could be decided before Civil Court. With the aforementioned observation, this petition was dismissed. [Bharat Kunwar v. Mangilal, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 609, dated 05-04-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT): A Bench comprising of Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya, Chairperson and Justice Bansi Lal Bhat, Member (Judicial) dismissed an appeal filed against the order of National Company Law Tribunal, Bengaluru dismissing appellant’s application under Section 9 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

The appellant had filed a petition under Section 433(e), 434(1) and 439 of Companies Act, 1956 before the Karnataka High Court. The petition was transferred pursuant to rule 5of the Companies (Transfer of Pending Proceedings) Rules, 2016 to NCLT. The petition was treated as an application under Section 9 of the I&B Code by the appellant. Demand Notice under Section 8(1) was issued. After hearing the parties, NCLT dismissed the application on the ground of pre-existing dispute. Aggrieved thereby, the present appeal was filed.

Raghavendra M. Bajaj, Advocate for the appellant submitted that the Corporate Debtor had agreed to pay dues by 5 different times. But the Corporate Debtor claimed the existence of ‘dispute’. It raised objections regarding non-completion of project within time and completion of the same in haste with defects.

The Appellate Tribunal noted that the objections were raised by the Corporate Debtor much prior to the filing of petition under Companies Act. It was held that such disputes cannot be decided by NCLT but only by a civil court of competent jurisdiction on basis evidence. Therefore, as there existed a dispute raised prior to filing of petition under Sections 433(e) and 434(1) of Companies Act, it was held that the application under Section 9 of I&B Code was not maintainable. [Yash Technologies (P) Ltd. v. Base Corpn. Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine NCLAT 1, dated 03-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: While disposing of a petition, a Single Judge Bench comprising of Yogesh Khanna, J. set aside the directions given by a Civil Judge to the Commissioner of Police to organise training programmes for police officials.

The Civil Judge was dealing with a civil suit (property dispute) between two private parties. During the course of proceedings, the parties settled the dispute. The suit was disposed of and decree sheet was ordered to be prepared. Aggrieved thereby, the Commissioner of police preferred the present appeal.

A short question before the High Court was, “In a list between two private parties, can a trial court travel beyond the pleadings to pass such like directions since it is not exercising writ jurisdictions?”

The Court relied on its earlier decision in University of Delhi v. Neelam Gaur, 2002 SCC OnLine Del 500 and observed, “a Civil Court does not possess inherent power to give directions of general nature having far-reaching effect, whatever laudable object such directions may seek to achieve viz., giving training to its officers by the petitioner, such directions ought not to have been passed especially, when the lis before the court did not require passing such directions.” Resultantly, the Court set aside the order of the Civil Judge so far it related to the directions given to the petitioner herein. [Commissioner of Police v. Gayatri, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13048, dated 18-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Mohit Kumar Shah, J. while hearing a civil writ petition ruled that the district administration was not empowered to order sealing of a property and direct eviction of the possessor therefrom.

The present petition was filed praying for quashing order of Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Gaya whereby petitioner’s shop had been sealed on the basis of a complaint of his landlady alleging that despite demanding the petitioner-tenant to vacate the shop, he had refused to do so and had instead, threatened her.

The Court opined that the District administration was not empowered to seal the shop of the petitioner at the instance of his landlady. Petitioner’s eviction or sealing of his shop could have taken place only after following the due process of law. If the landlady wanted to evict the petitioner, she was free to approach the Court of competent civil jurisdiction for the said purpose.

In view of the above, the petition was allowed and impugned order was quashed. District Administration was directed to open the seal of petitioner’s shop and hand over its possession to him within three days of the date of the present order.[Ram Pravesh Yadav v. State of Bihar, 2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2170, decided on 05-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of G. Narendar, J. hearing a civil writ petition set aside the order of revenue authority passed after 30 years, ruling that the said power was exercised after a lapse of a long time and hence was unreasonable.

The present matter pertained to mutation of revenue entries for a property by revenue authorities, suit in relation to which was pending in the court of Civil Judge, Nelamangala. Despite pendency of the suit in a lower court, the Assistant Commissioner, Bangalore rural district directed mutation of names of respondents 4 to 10 in the revenue records pursuant to registration of sale deed in 1977. The said order was confirmed by Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore district. The instant petition was filed for quashing of the order of Deputy Commissioner.

The Court noted that admittedly, the suit pending in lower court was instituted prior to the passing of orders by the Assistant Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner. Relying on its judgment in S. Shivanna v. Tehsildar, Bangalore North Taluk, 2005 SCC OnLine Kar 604 the  High Court allowed the petition holding that the impugned orders were vitiated on the ground that the said power had been exercised after an extraordinary and unexplained delay of around 30 years.

Further, revenue courts ought not to adjudicate rights with regard to the immovable property once the dispute is seized of by a civil court. The impugned order of revenue authorities was set aside and they were directed to enter details of pending suit in the records which would be deleted after disposal of the suit. [Prakash v. Dy. Commr. Bangalore Rural District,2018 SCC OnLine Kar 2282, decided on 15-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sanjay Kumar, J. set aside a trial court order abating a title suit ruling that declaration of voidability of a document is within the jurisdiction of a Civil Court.

Petitioner before this Court was the plaintiff in a title suit filed in trial court for cancellation of registered sale deed allegedly executed by her father in favour of the respondent-defendant. The petitioner’s submission before trial court was that the land in dispute is joint family property and that her aged had lost his consciousness for the last six months before his death. The respondent-defendant taking advantage of his mental condition executed the sale deed by committing fraud and forgery. The trial court, noting the submissions of the petitioner, abated the said suit in terms of Section 4(c) of Bihar Consolidation of Holdings and Prevention of Fragmentation Act, 1956. Aggrieved thereby, the instant petition was filed for quashing the said order.

The High Court noted that the petitioner’s father neither received any consideration money nor executed any document nor affixed his thumb impression on the purported sale deed. The court relied on full bench decision in Ramkrit Singh v. State of Bihar, 1979 SCC OnLine Pat 30 and observed that if a document has to be set aside, civil suit would be maintainable; but a mere declaration of title or a mere declaration that the document is void can be done by the consideration authority. In the instant case, the purported sale deed was voidable and therefore it was within the jurisdiction of civil court to cancel or set aside the said document.

The Court noted that cancellation of purported sale deed was sought by petitioner on the grounds of fraud and forgery which could be determined only after recording evidence of the parties. As such, the impugned order was set aside and trial court was directed to proceed with the suit. [Gangotri Devi v. Bhukhan Singh,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 1984, decided on 02-11-2018]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of A.S. Chandurkar, J. allowed a civil revision application filed by the tenant — Dena Bank, against the order of the trial court whereby its application under Order 7 Rule 11(d) CPC for rejection of the plaint filed by the landlord for its eviction was dismissed.

The Bank filed the abovesaid application stating that in the light of provisions of Section 17(4-A) read with Section 13(4) of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Act, 2002 (SARFAESI), the civil court had no jurisdiction in the suit. However, the application was rejected. Aggrieved thus, the Bank approached the High Court.

The High Court noted that according to Section 17(4-A), any person who is aggrieved by any of the measures referred to in Section 13(4) of  SARFAESI being taken by a secured creditor can approach Debts Recovery Tribunal and can raise a grievance. A person claiming tenancy or leasehold is also entitled to make such application under Section 17. As per Section 34, a civil court has no jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding with regard to any matter which the DRT is empowered to adjudicate under SARFAESI. The High Court, on the basis of the above, held that the trial court rejected the application of the Bank without having regard to Section 17(4-A) and therefore committed a jurisdictional error. Hence, the order impugned was quashed and set aside. The application filed by the Bank under Order 7 Rule 11(d) was allowed. However, it was open to the landlord to take such other steps as permitted under law. The civil revision was accordingly allowed. [Dena Bank v. Pravin Vithalrao Dorkhande,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 2800, decided on 26-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In this case, two revision petitions were disposed of together by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Anil Kshetarpal, J., where issues were identical.

This revision petition was filed against an order where application for rejection of plaint was dismissed. The Plaintiffs were alleged with not signing the documents of guarantee. The plaintiff had approached the Civil Court in the matter related to SARFAESI Act, 2002 where according to Section 17 of the Act any person affected is entitled to file an application before the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT). In pursuance of Section 34 of the Act which bars Civil Court’s jurisdiction in matters covered under SARFAESI Act, defendant i.e. Nationalized Bank pleaded that Civil Court had no jurisdiction. Trial Court referred the case of Mardia Chemicals Ltd. v. Union of India, (2004) 4 SCC 311 where it was held that in cases of fraud, Civil Court does have jurisdiction.

This Court observed that the pleadings of the plaintiff suggests that the word fraud had been deliberately used so as to oust the jurisdiction of Debt Recovery Tribunal and in a decision of Madras High Court V.Thulasi v. Indian Overseas Bank, 2011 SCC OnLine Mad 670 it was held that where it is found that the word fraud has been deliberately used as a clever drafting in order to bring the suit before Civil Court such efforts will be repelled by the Court. High Court enabled the DRT by virtue of provisions of SARFAESI Act, 2002 to deal with the issue of whether the plaintiffs had stood guarantee to the loan received by the borrowers or not. Therefore, both the revision petitions were allowed and the matter will be taken up by the DRT. [State Bank of Patiala v. Satya Jyoti Rice Mills,2017 SCC OnLine P&H 4657, order dated 02-11-2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Dealing with the question as to whether the Civil Court would cease to have jurisdiction to try the suit of eviction if the suit property came under notified area during pendency of the suit, the Court held that as on the date of the institution of the suit legal right in favour of the landlord had already accrued and it stood crystallised under the law applicable to the building at that time, if during the pendency of the suit, Rent Act becomes applicable to the premises in question, that would be of no consequence and it would not take away the jurisdiction of civil court to dispose of a suit validly instituted.

Referring to various rulings of this Court, the Bench of Dr. A.K. Sikri and N.V. Ramana, JJ said that in order to oust the jurisdiction of civil court, there must be a specific provision in the Act taking away the jurisdiction of the civil court in respect of those cases also which were validly instituted before the date when protection of Rent Act became available in respect of the said area/premises/tenancy. Further In case aforesaid position is not accepted and the protection of the Rent Act is extended even in respect of suit validly instituted prior in point of time when there was no such protection under the Act, it will have the consequence of making the decree, that is obtained prior to the Rent Act becoming applicable to the said area/premises, inexecutable after the application of these Rent Act in respect of such premises. This would not be in consonance with the legislative intent.

In the present case the premises in-question was initially outside the ambit of rent legislation, however, during the pendency of the suit and before it could be finally decided, the area in question was brought within the sweep of rent legislations by requisite notifications. The effect of such coverage was to give protective umbrella to the tenants. As a fortiorari, the landlord can now evict the tenant only by taking recourse to the rent legislation that too, by filing the petition for eviction under the Rent Act before the Rent Controller/Tribunal constituted under the said Acts. [Rajender Bansal v. Bhuru, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1151, decided on 18.10.2016]