Jurisdiction of Civil Courts: An Introduction
Types of jurisdiction are nowhere provided in CPC. In the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, we cannot find the explanation of the term jurisdiction, of the civil court. In other words, the simple meaning of the jurisdiction that can be derived from the CPC is the jurisdiction described as the power of the courts to settle the dispute.
The Latin maxim, ‘Ubi jus Ibi Remedium’ which means where there is a right, there is a remedy. So, anyone having an objection has the right to sue which is provided under legal provisions.
Meaning of Jurisdiction
We can seek the meaning of the jurisdiction in two Latin terms – ‘Juris’ and ‘Dicta’. Here, the meaning of Juris is the ‘Law‘ and Dicta means ‘To Speak’. So, we can see that the term jurisdiction means ‘Speak by Law’.
The definition of jurisprudence has not been provided under the Civil Procedure Code.
Generally, jurisdiction is defined as the power of the judiciary or the extent to which the court exercises its power over suits, appeals etc.
Black’s law dictionary defines the word ‘Jurisdiction’ as ‘A power of the court to decide the case or issue a decree.’
Types of Jurisdiction of the Civil Court
The civil jurisdiction of the court empowers the court to deal with disputes of civil nature. Here, we’ll discuss some types of jurisdiction of the civil court.
1. Original Jurisdiction
Original jurisdiction empowers the court to entertain any dispute of civil nature at an early stage. In simple words, where we file the civil suit at the first instance to deal with our issue is the original jurisdiction of the court.
Example: Consider, there is a dispute of civil nature between two states, then the case should be filed before the Supreme Court and not before the High Court or District Court. Thus, this is the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
2. Territorial / Area Wise Jurisdiction
The territorial / area wise jurisdiction of the court depends on the territory within which the court is empowered to deal with the matters of civil nature is called its territorial jurisdiction. So, the court does not have the power to deal with civil disputes beyond its territorial jurisdiction.
The limits of territorial or area wise jurisdiction have been fixed by the Government. And, the courts and tribunals cannot exercise their jurisdiction beyond the limits imposed by the Government.
Example: The dispute relating to the partition of the immovable property situated in the district can be filed before that particular district court and not to any other district court. If the disputed property is located in the district then the same district court has the power to deal with the issue.
Similarly, the Bombay High Court has the power to deal with issues arising within the State of Maharashtra only and not outside.
3. Pecuniary / Monetary Jurisdiction
The meaning of pecuniary jurisdiction or monetary jurisdiction, it is the monetary value of the subject matter in the suit which is heard and decided by the authority of the court.
Section 6 of the Civil Procedure Code, describes the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court as – Nothing herein contained shall operate to give any Court jurisdiction over suits the amount or value of the subject matter of which exceeds the pecuniary limits (if any) of its ordinary jurisdiction.
Now, the pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Judge and Additional District Judge has no limits to hear and decide the suit as to their value of the subject matter.
The other Subordinate Judges of the Senior Divison and Junior Division have pecuniary jurisdiction which depends (inter alia) on the value of the subject matter in the suit.
The value of the suit has been calculated according to the provision provided in The Suits Valuation Act and the rules provided therein.
Hence, the High Courts and District Court has no limit on the jurisdiction as to the value of the subject matter but the monetary limit for lower civil courts has been already provided under The Suits Valuation Act.
4. Appellate Jurisdiction
When the judgement is given by the court and the aggrieved party files the appeal at the first instance in other superior courts, such court is called Appellate Court. And, such court has the power to entertain that appeal, it’s an appellate jurisdiction of that court.
Hence, the court has the power to re-adjudicate the matter which is already decided by the lower court, it’s an appellate jurisdiction. For example, appeal, revision etc.
5. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
The courts had empowered to understand and try the cases relating to certain types of subject matter is known as the jurisdiction of the subject matter of the particular court. In simple words, special matters should be heard and decided by the special court.
Example: The disputes relating to the family matters were heard and decided by the Family Courts only and not by the Tribunals because they have their separate jurisdiction on the subject matter. Like that, NCLT can deal with the company matters only and not any other matter.
6. Exclusive and Concurrent Jurisdiction
Exclusive jurisdiction of the court means there is only one court that has the authority to hear and decide the matter.
Whereas, concurrent jurisdiction means there are two or more courts that have the power to entertain and decide and the particular case.
Example: Suppose, there is a divorce case that can be filed in the Maharashtra and Telangana, both the courts have jurisdiction to hear and decide the case, this is the concurrent jurisdiction. But, if the same matter is decided by the court in Maharashtra then the appeal should be in Bombay High Court only, this is the exclusive jurisdiction.
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