Questions and AnswersCIVIL PROCEDURE CODE
Explain Jurisdiction and the types of jurisdiction under the CPC.
A: The Word Jurisdiction comes from two latin words ‘juris” and “dicto”, which literally means speak by the law. In simple language, jurisdiction means the power or authority of a court of law to entertain, hear and determine a suit or any other legal proceeding. Thus the jurisdiction of a court refers to the power or the extent of the authority of the court to administer justice with reference to the local limits, subject matter and the pecuniary value. The existence of a fact which gives authority to a court to try and dispose of a particular legal proceeding is referred to as a jurisdictional fact. The different kinds of Jurisdiction are:
- Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction:
Civil Jurisdiction is that jurisdiction which deals with disputes of civil nature, as for instance, the commission of a tort or a breach of contract. Criminal jurisdiction, on the other hand, is the one which relates to a crime and deals with punishment to the offender, as for instance, prosecution for a murder or robbery.
- Territorial or Local Jurisdiction:
Every court has its own territorial or local limits fixed by law, beyond which it cannot exercise its jurisdiction. Thus, a District Judge as jurisdiction over the territory within a particular district and not beyond those limits. The High Court has jurisdiction over all the territories comprised in the state in which it is situated and not beyond. Again, a court has no jurisdiction over immovable which is situated beyond its territorial limits.
- Pecuniary Jurisdiction:
Under the Code, a court has jurisdiction only over those suits, the amount or value of the subject-matter where if does not exceed the pecuniary limits of its jurisdiction. Thus, in Mumbai, the Small Causes Court cannot try a suit if the amount is more than Rs.10,000/- and the City Civil Court cannot exercise jurisdiction if the amount claimed in the suit is more than Rs. 1 Crore only. All suits where the claim is more than Rs, 1 Crore are to be filed in the High Court.
- Jurisdiction as to subject matter of the suit:
The law empowers different courts to try different types of suits and legal proceedings. Likewise, some courts are barred from trying certain types of suits. Thus, a Small Causes Court has no jurisdiction to try suits involving, inter alia, specific performance of a contract or a partition of immovable property. Likewise, only the Supreme Court and the High Courts are empowered to hear writ petitions.
- Original and Appellate Jurisdiction:
Original Jurisdiction is the jurisdiction conferred upon a court of the first instance. Thus, a Small Causes Court has only original jurisdiction and no appeals can be filed in that court. Appellate Jurisdiction on the other hand, is a jurisdiction conferred upon superior court to hear appeals from decisions of the subordinate court. Thus, an appeal from a decision of the City Civil Court can be filed in High Court and an appeal from a decision of the High Court lies before the Supreme Court. The High Court has both Original and Appellate Jurisdiction.
- Exclusive and Concurrent Jurisdiction:
If a particular type of suit can be filed only in one court or tribunal, and no other court or tribunal can try that suit, it is a case of exclusive jurisdiction, as for instance, the Debt Recovery Tribunal, the Competition Commission etc. Concurrent or co-ordinate jurisdiction, on the other hand, is the jurisdiction which can be exercised by different courts or tribunals over the same subject matter. Thus, the Supreme Court and the high Court have concurrent jurisdiction to entertain writ petitions.
- General and Special Jurisdiction:
General jurisdiction extends to all cases comprised in one class or classes of cases. Special or limited or exclusive jurisdiction, on the other hand, is confined to a particular type of cases. Thus, the Small Causes Court has special or exclusive jurisdiction in all rent matters.
- Legal or Equitable Jurisdiction:
In India, there are no separate Equity Courts. All Courts are law courts which administer the law of the land. However, in the absence of a specific law on a given point, the law courts base their decision on equity, justice and good conscience.
- Domestic or Foreign Jurisdiction:
Domestic Jurisdiction is jurisdiction exercised by the courts of the country, whereas foreign jurisdiction refers to jurisdiction exercised by the courts in a foreign country.
- Expounding or Expanding Jurisdiction:
Expounding Jurisdiction refers to act of defining, clarifying and explaining the jurisdiction possessed by a court. The term, expanding jurisdiction is used when a court expands, enlarges or extends its jurisdiction. It is well- accepted that it is a court’s duty to expound its jurisdiction and that it is nor proper on its part to expand its jurisdiction.
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