Citizens' Issues
Aamcha Sexun Nahi!
There is what is called jurisdiction. It means the area over which a court of law has the authority to hold sway
 
Many of our readers, their friends, clients or acquaintances, must have heard this line. Translated into acceptable English from Marathi, it means, ‘not our Section’. In other words, ‘Get lost. You have come to the wrong place’. Many a poor folk takes this response as the final answer. Unfortunately, it is not only the police who mouth this famous phrase. Many litigants also find solace, or rather loopholes, and exploit them. How does that work?
 
There is what is called jurisdiction. It means the area over which a court of law has the authority to hold sway. The correct appellation is ‘Territorial Jurisdiction’, as opposed to ‘Pecuniary Jurisdiction’. Territorial Jurisdiction demarcates an area where one can file a case. The guiding principle is called ‘the cause of action’, the cause being the legal problem that has been created by someone for the person affected. The origin of the problem is the place that determines the correct court, jurisdiction-wise.
 
There is a book of rules for lawyers, called The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Or simply the CPC. It contains a Section on the subject of jurisdiction. The subject matter has to be of a civil nature, a determination of the rights of the parties, maybe on land ownership, use, or maybe on monies owed.
There is another Code. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The Code is much older but the revision date holds good. It deals with crime. From simple abusing, to heinous murder, rape or genocide. Here, again, jurisdiction is important.
 
You be the judge.
 
A) Mr A buys a refrigerator from a shop in a small town. The shop is a branch of a very big concern having its head office in Mumbai. There is some dispute and the company files a suit in Mumbai. Is it right in doing so?
 
B) Mr B steals money from an ATM in Mumbai; next, he robs another ATM, of the same bank, in a town in Gujarat. Next, he breaks into an ATM in a village near Delhi. He is caught and found to be a resident of the village. Where can the bank institute criminal proceedings? The village, Delhi, Gujarat or Mumbai?
C) A woman from Telangana is married in Punjab where her husband has a home. The marriage takes place in Punjab. Things sour; she returns to her native place. The husband then files for divorce, in Punjab. Is he right in doing so?
 
The answer to A) is determined by the convenience to Mr A. Since he bought the refrigerator from a shop in his town, and which town has a branch of the plaintiff, the correct court of jurisdiction will be nearest the town, not Mumbai. The poor man cannot be put to loss of time, money and energy. A recent judgement of the Supreme Court in IPRS vs Sanjay Dalia, makes interesting reading on this point.
 
The thief, in his escapade from Mumbai to his native muluk, can be charged in any of the places mentioned; but convicted for all robberies on separate counts.
 
The estranged wife has an option. The husband, in spite of the fact that the marriage took place in Punjab, would have to go to Telangana; if his wife sought him to. This bending of the jurisdictional rule is to ensure less harassment for women. We believe it is correct.
 
Inter-country jurisdictions have a life of their own and would be too extensive to discuss here. Suffice it to say that the question of jurisdiction is important.
 
Then, there is the aspect about the court of lowest jurisdiction. It means that one has to approach the subordinate trial courts first, whenever possible, especially in terms of pecuniary jurisdiction. For example, the Bombay High Court now entertains suits of over Rs1 crore. For less than that, one needs to approach the city civil court. Similarly, for criminal matters, different courts have varying authority, depending on the gravity of the crime.
 
So, check the jurisdiction first. Do not rush to the High Court, no matter what the advice. You will be asked to take your papers elsewhere.
 

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COMMENTS

Meenal Mamdani

1 year ago

The author is to be commended for clarifying a point of law. As he points out, often this reply suggests callous disregard of the complaining party. This explanation will help plaintiffs understand the validity of the response.
All the same, the same reply can be given in a more sympathetic manner, with an easy to understand explanation, assuaging the feeling of rejection and despondency of the plaintiff. But officialdom rarely bothers to exert charm for a non-VIP.

India better placed than peers over US rate hike: Fitch
India is better placed than many of its peers after the American central bank - the US Federal Reserve - raised its key interest rates, said credit rating agency Fitch Ratings on Thursday.
 
"India is not immune to potential general emerging market jitters related to the Fed lift-off, but it is better placed than many of its peers for a number of reasons," Thomas Rookmaaker, director, Sovereign Ratings, Fitch Ratings was quoted as saying in a statement.
 
According to him, firstly India's external balances have significantly improved since mid-2013, with foreign exchange reserves rising by some $65 billion to $353 billion as of November 2015 and the current account deficit narrowing.
 
Secondly, India is less dependent than several of its peers on commodity exports, and has thus not been negatively affected by the global rout in commodity prices, he added.
 
"Only a small part of India's sovereign debt is held by foreigners or is denominated in foreign currency. Fourth, India's favourable economic growth outlook makes India relatively attractive for foreign investors," he added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Karti distances from ED raids, Chidambaram calls Modi government foolish
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday conducted raids in Chennai at the premises of firms allegedly connected to former finance minister P. Chidambaram's son Karti.
 
Karti said neither he nor his family were shareholders in any of the firms, while Chidambaram issued a statement saying "nothing was found in the fishing and roving enquiry" and he would like to see how far a "foolish government" will go in "harassing" his son.
 
Karti, in a statement issued in Chennai, said some officers of the investigating agencies visited his office on Wednesday.
 
"I was informed that they are investigating three firms of which two belong to my friends. They are owned by professionals and managed by competent board of directors. I am not aware of the third firm," he said.
 
"I made it clear to the officers what I had publicly stated earlier. Neither I nor any member of my family is a shareholder or director of any of the said firms. We do not have any economic interest in the said firms."
 
He said that as the allegation of his connection with the firms was "false".
 
He said there was no "basis for them to have visited by office or to make any enquiries in my office".
 
Chidambaram said: "As can be expected, nothing was found in the fishing and roving enquiry. I would like to see how far a foolish government will go in harassing him. I still believe that the department I left behind have many officers who will act according to their conscience."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

 

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