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This article is written by Mishu Jain of 2nd semester of BA.LL.B of Manipal University Jaipur, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


Every citizen has a fundamental right to seek legal remedy in case of injury of their legal rights. One of the core tenets of English law, which Indian law embraced, is that if someone’s rights have been infringed upon or hindered, or if they have been denied access to their promised rights, a court tribunal must have the authority to settle the conflict of interest. The code of civil procedure (CPC), 1980 lays down the procedure of civil proceedings in the India. The CPC establishes guidelines for which a lawsuit must be brought before a court with the authority to hear the matter and issue a ruling or decree

Every topic pertaining to the foundations of jurisdiction is covered in Sections 9–21. The location of the lawsuit is the first consideration made when filing a lawsuit and it is covered in Sections 15 to 20. The phrase “place of suing” designates the trial’s location. The court’s competence is unaffected by the same. According to Section 15 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the plaintiff must file a lawsuit in the lowest grade court that is qualified to hear it.

This article will explore and give a detailed knowledge about the related concept of jurisdiction and place of suing with emphasizing their varied forms, vital importance, and the main determinants that affect the choice of the right forum for a given legal matter.


Jurisdiction, Place of Suing, The Code of Civil Procedure, 1980, Legal Suit, Right to Seek Remedy, Section 9 and 15 of CPC, Civil Proceedings.


A fundamental English right principle recognized by Indian law is “Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium”, which states that “where there is right, there is a remedy”. When someone’s legal rights are violated or restricted, they must file a claim with the proper administrative body or court to pursue reparations from the appropriate party. Such a court must have the power to make decisions on the case. To address the issue, the court must have jurisdiction. Every court has a distinct area of authority. The CPC establishes guidelines for what matters can be brought before which court. A lawsuit must be brought before a court that has the authority to hear the matter and issue an order or decree. The CPC determines which court has the appropriate jurisdiction. Sections 15 to 21 address all aspects of jurisdiction theory.

The phrase “place of suing” indicates the trial’s location. The court’s competence is unaffected by the same. According to Section 15 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the plaintiff must file a lawsuit in the lowest grade court that is qualified to hear it. Sections 16 to 18 of the aforementioned Code provide provisions regarding immovable property. Suits seeking damages for wrongs done to people or moveable property are particularly covered by Section 19. The well-established rule that flaws pertaining to territorial or financial jurisdiction may be waived is acknowledged in Section 21 of the Code. It is specifically forbidden by section 21A of the code to file a substantive lawsuit to overturn a court order for lack of geographical jurisdiction.


Juris, which means “law,” and Dicere, which means “to speak,” are the Latin terms from which jurisdiction are derived. Jurisdiction refers to the power of the Court to take the cognizance of an offense and to determine the cause of action. The case of Hirday Nath v. Ram Chandra[1] interpreted the jurisdiction. According to the High Court of Calcutta, jurisdiction is the legal authority of the court to hear, consider, and rule on a cause. The Main factors used to determine jurisdiction are:

  • pecuniary value
  • the court’s territorial boundaries
  • The subject matter of the case.

In addition to the forum’s authority, the court’s financial jurisdiction, or its geographical jurisdiction, it is necessary for the court to be competent enough to provide relief in this kind of situation.

According to S.9of CPC, 1980[2], civil courts have the authority to handle any civil dispute that isn’t expressly or tacitly prohibited. The Supreme Court clarified the meaning of jurisdiction in Rev. P.M.A. Metropolitan V. Moran Mar Marthoma[3], citing section 9. The Court declared:

  • There is both a positive and bad connotation to the sentences used in section 9.
  • The later half has a wider meaning since it excludes matters that are officially or implicitly prohibited, whereas the earlier part has a wider meaning because it covers all civil matters.
  • The legislative intentions are expressed in the two explanations provided in Section 9.
  • It imposed an obligation on the court to use its authority to uphold private rights.
  • No court has the authority to reject a case that is covered by this clause.
  • The fact that the word “shall” is employed indicates that this part is required; hence taking attention of the matter is mandatory.

In light of this, the general consensus on the subject of civil court jurisdiction is that, lacking a statute specifically or implicitly excluding it, the courts have inherent authority to consider civil cases. The Supreme Court has ruled that the party challenging the court’s jurisdiction must provide sufficient evidence to support their position.

It is also crucial to remember that the Supreme Court held in a seminal decision that the Civil Courts alone possess the authority to determine whether or not they have the jurisdiction to consider a given lawsuit, even in cases where an investigation reveals otherwise.


The foremost thing which is determined during the filing of a suit is the place of suing. Sections 15 to 20 address the place of suing. For determining the place of suing, there are three different types of jurisdiction:

  • territorial jurisdiction
  • pecuniary jurisdiction
  • Subject matter jurisdiction

Only when a case falls within every one of the three categories of jurisdictions can it be tried by a court. When a court with inadequate jurisdiction hears a matter, it is referred to as an irregular exercise of jurisdiction or a lack of jurisdiction, and depending on the circumstances, the ruling may be declared null and void. The categories of jurisdiction are discussed in detail in Sections 15-20 and 21. A judgment rendered by a court lacking authority is discussed in Section 21. The relevant state statutes pertaining to civil courts typically establish the territorial and financial jurisdiction in civil cases.

Pecuniary jurisdiction

The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, specifies in Section 15[4] that “—every suit shall be instituted in the Court of the lowest grade competent to try it”. Since this regulation is procedural in nature, it has no bearing on the courts’ jurisdiction. The valuation provided by the plaintiff in the complaint determines the jurisdiction of a court under Section 15, Rather than the total sum for which the court will issue the decision.


Before India gained its independence, the Allahabad High Court considered the case of Mazhar Husain and Anr. Vs. Nidhi Lal[5], this clarifies the goals of Section 15 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908[6].

The following outlines the dual purpose of Section 15:

  1. Lessen the workload for the higher courts
  2. Provide convenience for the parties and any witnesses who could be asked to testify in these cases.

Valuation of the case

Unless it is evident to the court from the outset that the valuation was incorrect, the plaintiff often values the claim in order to establish the court’s financial jurisdiction.  In the event that the court determines that the valuation was completed either too high or too low, the court will complete the valuation and instruct the parties to contact the proper forum. The plaintiff’s value determines the court’s jurisdiction, not the sum for which a decision is issued. The plaintiff’s valuation is what establishes the court’s jurisdiction. However, this does not imply that the plaintiff is free to petition for any amount of money and to select the court where he wishes to do so. The plaintiff may be required to provide proof that the valuation was completed correctly if the court determines that it was done incorrectly in order to escape the jurisdiction of the relevant court.

Territorial jurisdiction

The following four categories of litigation should be taken into account when assessing a court’s territorial jurisdiction:

Cases involving immovable property: The Code of Civil Procedure’s Sections 16–18 apply to the criteria and procedures for bringing lawsuits pertaining to immovable property disputes.

.Cases concerning moveable property: Cases involving movable property are covered by Section 19 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It establishes the procedures for bringing lawsuits pertaining to disagreements over movable property.

Suits pertaining to compensation for wrongs: Lawsuits pertaining to damages for wrongs are also covered by Section 19 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This section outlines the procedures for bringing lawsuits to recover losses or injuries brought on by wrongdoing.

Other suits: Lawsuits that do not fit into the above-mentioned specified categories are covered under Section 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It includes lawsuits that don’t fall within the categories of recompense for wrongs, movable property, or immovable property.

Section 16 0f CPC, 1980[7]According to Section 16, the following lawsuits must be filed at the local court whose jurisdiction the property is located:

  • Lawsuits seeking the restitution of immovable property, whether or not rent or profits are involved.
  • Lawsuits involving the splitting of immovable property.
  • Lawsuits seeking sale, redemption, or foreclosure in the event of an immovable property charge or mortgage.
  • Lawsuits to ascertain any other interest or right in immovable property.
  • Lawsuits seeking damages for wrongful use of immovable property.
  • Lawsuits to retrieve movable property that has been rightfully attached or distraught.

Section 17 of Code of Civil Procedure 1908[8] states, “Suits for immovable property situate within the jurisdiction of different Courts”.– This Section states that the plaintiff may choose which court to file a lawsuit in the event that an immovable property is subject to the jurisdiction of two or more courts. When a property is under the jurisdiction of more than one court, the plaintiff is free to select the one that best suits their needs. As long as the litigation is within the pecuniary jurisdiction of those courts, it is permissible to file it in various municipal limits whose jurisdiction includes any section of the property.

Section 18 Code of Civil Procedure 1908 states[9], “Place of Institution of suit where local limits of jurisdiction of Courts are uncertain”.—  According to this section, if a court determines that there is a basis for confusion and the local boundaries of its jurisdiction are unclear, it may record the statement, hear the matter, and issue a final decision. The decree issued by this court shall be enforceable as if the property were located inside the court’s local jurisdiction boundaries.

When an objection is brought before the Appellate or Revisional Court and the court that is taking cognizance of the case fails to record the statement, the Appellate or Revisional Court will not entertain the complaint unless it is satisfied that there was no basis for uncertainty regarding the court’s jurisdiction at the time the suit was instituted.

 In the case of Hakam Singh v. Gammon (India) Ltd[10]., the question of how a suit trial should proceed while it is under the jurisdiction of numerous courts was addressed by the Supreme Court of India.

Facts -With its principal place of business located in Bombay, the defendant—a company formed under the Indian Companies Act—had a contract with the plaintiff that stipulated that arbitration would be used to settle disagreements and that Bombay courts would be the exclusive forum for doing so. This restriction was challenged by the plaintiff, who claimed that it was against public policy.

Judgment -The Bombay courts possessed jurisdiction under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, hence the Supreme Court ruled that the parties’ agreement, giving the Bombay courts authority to oversee the arbitration procedures, was legitimate and enforceable.

Reasoning -An agreement between the parties that the dispute be resolved in one of the two courts that have authority to hear a matter under the Code is not against public policy.

The parties’ agreement, which states that only the courts in Bombay will have the authority to try the arbitration proceedings, is enforceable because the Bombay courts are authorized to hear cases pertaining to this subject under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Section 19 of the code of civil procedure, 1980[11] – “Suits for compensation for wrongs to person or movables”.  If a person or movable property has been wrongfully damaged and the defendant lives, works, or conducts business within the local limits of one court’s jurisdiction while another court has jurisdiction over the wrongdoing, the plaintiff may choose to file the lawsuit in any of the aforementioned courts to recover compensation.

Let’s understand with the help of an illustration:

Suraj, who lives in Gujarat, may opt to file a case against Raj, who lives in Kolkata, in either the Gujarati or Kolkatan courts, but not in a third, unrelated court like Delhi, if Raj commits a wrongdoing against Suraj. When the wrong and the defendant’s location lie under different court jurisdictions, this rule allows the plaintiff to choose the court based on convenience or strategic reasons.

Section 20 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908[12] deals with “Other suits to be instituted where defendants reside or cause of action arises”

Every lawsuit must be filed in a court located inside the local boundaries of the following jurisdictions, subject to the aforementioned restrictions:

(a) At the time the lawsuit is filed, the defendant, or each defendant if there are multiple, actually and voluntarily dwells, conducts business, or works for pay directly; or

(b) if, at the time the lawsuit is filed, any of the defendants, if any, actually and voluntarily resides, conducts business, or works for personal gain; in such a case, the defendants must either obtain the court’s permission or, if none of the aforementioned options are available, must consent to being employed by the institution;

(c) The cause of action, wholly or in part, arises.

The Code of Civil Procedure’s Section 20 deals with residuary cases, or those in which a violation of contract or business transaction gives rise to a cause of action. This section states that the plaintiff may file a lawsuit in either court if there is a breach of contract or a cause of action within that court’s jurisdiction, or if the defendant chooses to live, conduct business, or work for personal gain within that court’s jurisdiction.

Subject matter jurisdiction

Different courts are able to make decisions about different types of lawsuits. Some courts are not authorized to hear particular kinds of cases. For example, in cases involving testamentary succession, divorce, probate, insolvency, etc., the Court of Civil Judges (Junior Division) is not authorized to rule. A case from a specific class of cases may only be pursued if a court has jurisdiction over that class of cases; this is known as subject matter jurisdiction. Due to the Tribunal System’s recent trend, subject matter jurisdiction has gained excessive popularity.

Section 21 of the code of civil procedure, 1980[13]– “Objections to jurisdiction”.

A judgment rendered by a court lacking jurisdiction is considered irregular, according to this section. The parties must raise the challenge to the verdict in the actual case. The judgment may be deemed null and void if the jurisdictional error is relevant to the subject matter and is challenged at the appellate or revisional level, regardless of whether it is objected to before the court in the first instance.

Nonetheless, the judgment is deemed erroneous if the jurisdictional error results from a pecuniary or territorial error that was not presented before the court initially. In this case, no challenge about jurisdiction may be made during the appellate or revisional stages.

Even in cases where the court lacks jurisdiction, Section 21of the CPC serves to protect sincere litigants, shield them from harassment, and guarantee that actions taken in good faith are upheld. This provision cannot be used by dishonest litigants.

Section 21A[14]  “Bar on suit to set aside decree on objection as to place of suing”.—

No lawsuit based on an objection to the venue of the lawsuit may be brought up to contest the legality of a decree entered in a prior lawsuit involving the same parties or between persons using the same title.


A key concern under the Civil Procedure Code is the place of jurisdiction of a case. The first step towards justice is to approach the relevant court with the appropriate jurisdiction. Thus, a plaintiff needs to remember how crucial it is to contact the appropriate forum because they could have a significant impact on the case.

In order to avoid overloading higher courts, Section 15 of the CPC makes it clear that a lawsuit must be filed in the court of the lowest grade that is qualified to hear it.  Sections 16- 20 provide more details on the precise circumstances in which lawsuits pertaining to immovable property, compensation for wrongdoing, or other matters should be brought. Section 18 also deals with instances in which it is unclear where the local limits of jurisdiction are. The Supreme Court’s interpretation of these laws has shed light on the importance of subject-matter jurisdiction, challenges to territorial or pecuniary jurisdiction, and the applicability of waivers.

The principle of the place of suing is crucial since it establishes each court’s jurisdiction. It expedites the court’s process of ascertaining its jurisdiction. A person seeking to sue for a specific wrong must first do a comprehensive investigation of the area, the legal system, and numerous other aspects before deciding which court would be most suited to hear the case. They won’t be able to bring a lawsuit and get a ruling from the relevant jurisdictional court until then.


[1] Hirday Nath vs. Ram Chandra, 1921 AIR Cal 34.

[2] THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1980, §9, NO.5, Acts of parliament, 1980(India).

[3] Rev. P.M.A. Metropolitan V. Moran Mar Marthoma, 1995 AIR SC 2001.

[4] THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1980, §15, NO.5, Acts of parliament, 1980(India).

[5] Mazhar Husain and Anr. Vs. Nidhi Lal, 1885 ILR 7 All 230.

[6] THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1980, §15, NO.5, Acts of parliament, 1980(India).

[7] THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1980, §16, NO.5, Acts of parliament, 1980(India).

[8] THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1980, §17, NO.5, Acts of parliament, 1980(India).

[9] THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1980, §18, NO.5, Acts of parliament, 1980(India).

[10] Hakam Singh vs. M/S. Gammon (India) Ltd , 1971 AIR 740

[11] THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1980, §19, NO.5, Acts of parliament, 1980(India).

[12] THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1980, §20, NO.5, Acts of parliament, 1980(India).

[13] THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1980, §21, NO.5, Acts of parliament, 1980(India).

[14] THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1980, §21 (A), NO.5, Acts of parliament, 1980(India).

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