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General principles
From various decisions of the Supreme Court, the following general principles relating to
jurisdiction of a civil court emerge:
a. a civil court has jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature unless their cognizance is barred
either expressly or impliedly.
b. Consent can neither confer nor take away jurisdiction of a court.
c. A decree passed by a court without jurisdiction is a nullity and the validity thereof can be
challenged at any stage of the proceedings, in execution proceedings or even in collateral
d. There is a distinction between want of jurisdiction and irregular exercise thereof.
e. Every court has inherent power to decide the question of its own jurisdiction.
f.Jurisdiction of a court depends upon the averments made in a plaint and not upon the defense in
a written statement.
g. For deciding jurisdiction of a court, substance of a matter and not its form is important.
h. Every presumption should be made in favor of jurisdiction of a civil court.
i. A statute ousting jurisdiction of a court must be strictly construed.
j.Burden of proof of exclusion of jurisdiction of a court is on the party who asserts it.
k. Even where jurisdiction of a civil court is barred, it can still decide whether the provisions of
an act have been complied with or whether an order was passed de hors the provisions of law.
Exclusion of jurisdiction of civil court: principles
From the above discussion it is clear that the jurisdiction of civil courts is all- embracing except
to the extent it is excluded by law or by clear intendment arising from such law.
In the classic decision of Dhulabhai v. State of M.P., after considering a number of cases,
Hidyatullah, C.J. summarized the following principles relating to the exclusion of jurisdiction of
civil courts:
a. Where a statute gives finality to orders of special tribunals, the civil courts jurisdiction must be
held to be excluded if there is adequate remedy to do what the civil courts would normally do in
a suit. Such a provision, however, does not exclude those cases where the provisions of a
particular act have not been complied with or the statutory tribunal has not acted in conformity
with fundamental principles of judicial procedure.
b. Where there is an express bar of jurisdiction of a court, an examination of the scheme of a
particular act to find the adequate or sufficiency of the remedies provided may be relevant but
this is not decisive for sustaining the jurisdiction of a civil court.
Where there is no express exclusion, the examination of the remedies and the scheme of a

particular act to find out the intendment becomes necessary and the result of the inquiry may be
decisive. In the latter case, it is necessary to see if a statute creates a special right or a liability
and provides for the determination of the right or liability and further lays down that all questions
about the said right and liability shall be determined by tribunals so constituted, and whether
remedies normally associated with actions in civil courts are prescribed by the said statute or not.
c. challenge to the provisions of a particular act as ultra vires cannot be brought before tribunals
constituted under that act. Even the high court cannot go into that question on a revision or
reference from decisions of tribunals.
d. When a provision is already declared unconstitutional or the constitutionality of any
provisions is to be challenged, a suit is open. A writ of certiorari may include a direction for
refund if the claim is clearly within the time prescribed by the limitation act but it is not a
compulsory remedy to replace a suit.
e. Where the particular act contains no machinery for refund of tax collected in excess of
constitutional limits or is illegally collected, a suit lies.
f. Questions of the correctness of an assessment, apart from its constitutionality, are for the
decision of the authorized and a civil suit does not lie if the orders of the authorities are declared
to be final or there is an express prohibition in a particular act. In either case, the scheme of a
particular act must be examined because it is a relevant enquiry.
g. An exclusion of jurisdiction of a civil court is not readily to be inferred unless the conditions
above set down apply.
The above principles enunciated are relevant in deciding the correctness or otherwise of
assessment orders made under taxing statutes.
In Premier Automobiles v. K.S. Wadke, the supreme court laid down the following principles as
applicable to the jurisdiction of a civil court in relation to industrial disputes:
h. If a dispute is not an industrial dispute, nor does it relate to enforcement of any other right
under the act, the remedy lies only in a civil court.
i. If a dispute is an industrial dispute arising out of a right or liability under the general or
common law and not under the act, the jurisdiction of a civil court is alternative, leaving it to the
election of a suitor or person concerned to choose his remedy for the relief which is competent to
be granted in a particular remedy.

j. If an industrial dispute relates to the enforcement of a right or an obligation created under the
act, then the only remedy available to suitor is to get adjudication under the act.
k. If the right which is sought to be enforced is a right created under the act such as chapter V- A,
then the remedy for its enforcement is either section 33-C or the raising of an industrial dispute,
as the case may be.

From the above contents of my project it can be concluded that section 9 at the threshold of the
Civil Procedure Code (C.P.C.) primarily deals with the question of civil courts jurisdiction to
entertain a cause. It lays down that subject to what are contained in section 10,11, 12, 13, 47, 66,
83, 84, 91, 92, 115, etc., civil court has jurisdiction to entertain a suit of civil nature except when
its cognizance is expressly barred or barred by necessary implication. civil court has jurisdiction
to decide the question of its jurisdiction although as a result of the enquiry it may eventually turn
out that it has no jurisdiction over the matter. Civil court has jurisdiction to examine whether
tribunal and quasi- judicial bodies or statutory authority acted within there jurisdiction. But once
it is found that such authority, e.g., certificate officer had initial jurisdiction, then any erroneous
order by him is not open to collateral attack in a suit. Because there is an essential and marked
distinction between the cases in which courts lack jurisdiction to try cases and where jurisdiction
is irregularly exercised by courts.