Jurisdiction of Civil Courts

Section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure

In Abdul Waheed Khan vs. Bhawani and others, AIR 1966 SC 1718, it was held that it is settled principle that it is for the party who seeks to oust the jurisdiction of a civil court to establish his contention and it is also equally well settled that a statute ousting the jurisdiction of a civil court must be strictly constructed.

In Sri Vedagiri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami Temple vs. Induru Pattabhirami Reddi, AIR 1967 SC 781, this Court held that under Section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the courts shall have jurisdiction to try all suits of civil nature excepting suits of which there is a bar expressly or impliedly provided. It is well settled principle that a party seeking to oust jurisdiction of an ordinary civil court shall establish the right to do so.

In Smt. Bismillah vs. Janeshwar Prasad and Others, (1990) 1 SCC 207, this Court has reiterated the principle laid down and said that it is settled law that exclusion of the jurisdiction of the civil court is not to be readily inferred, but that such exclusion must either be explicitly expressed or clearly implied. The provisions of law which seek to oust the jurisdiction of civil court need to be strictly construed.

In Sahebgouda (Dead) by L.Rs. and Others vs. Ogeppa and Others, (2003) 6 SCC 151, this Court has held that it is well settled that a provision of law ousting the jurisdiction of a civil court must be strictly construed and onus lies on the party seeking to oust the jurisdiction to establish his right to do so.

In Dwarka Prasad Agarwal (D) by L.Rs. vs. Ramesh Chander Agarwal and Others, (2003) 6 SCC 220, a 3-Judge Bench has held that Section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure confers jurisdiction upon the civil courts to determine all disputes of civil nature unless the same is barred under a statute either expressly or by necessary implication. Bar of jurisdiction of a civil court is not to be readily inferred. A provision seeking to bar jurisdiction of a civil court requires strict interpretation. The court, it is well settled, would normally lean in favour of construction, which would uphold retention of jurisdiction of the civil court. The burden of proof in this behalf shall be on the party who asserts that the civil court’s jurisdiction is ousted.

Thus, from the aforesaid decisions, it is now well established principle of law that the ouster of jurisdiction of a civil court is not readily accepted and heavy burden of proof lies on the party who asserts that the civil court’s jurisdiction is ousted and some other court, tribunal or authority has been vested with jurisdiction.[AIR 2008 SCW 3651 : JT 2008 (6) SC 267 : (2008) 7 SCALE 286]