JURISDICTION OF CIVIL COURTS (SECTION 9)

by | Dec 14, 2023

Introduction: 

In the vast realm of civil litigation, Section 9 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) holds significant importance. This section deals with the jurisdiction of civil courts in India. 

Concept of Jurisdiction: 

Jurisdiction refers to the authority of a court to hear and decide a particular case. In civil cases, it is essential to determine the appropriate court that has jurisdiction over the matter. 

Jurisdiction can be classified into two types:

 pecuniary jurisdiction and territorial jurisdiction. 

Pecuniary jurisdiction refers to the monetary value of the claim involved in a case. Different courts have different limits of pecuniary jurisdiction, and cases falling within those limits must be filed in the respective courts. Territorial jurisdiction refers to the geographical area over which a court has the authority to hear cases. It ensures that a court can handle cases where the cause of action arises within its territorial limits. 

 Scope of Section 9 of CPC: 

Section 9 of the CPC lays down the general rule of jurisdiction for civil courts. It states that the courts shall have jurisdiction to try all civil suits unless their cognizance is expressly or impliedly barred. This means that civil courts have the inherent jurisdiction to hear and decide civil matters, subject to certain exceptions. Section 9 complements other sections of the CPC, such as Section 16 (determining the place of suing) and Section 20 (determining the place of institution of a suit). These sections work together to ensure that cases are brought before the appropriate court, based on the subject matter, value, and territorial limits, thereby facilitating a smooth and efficient legal process. 

 Exclusive and Concurrent Jurisdiction: 

Under Section 9, there are instances where a court has exclusive jurisdiction, meaning that specific matters can be dealt with solely by a particular court. For example, matters related to probate or administration of wills are exclusively within the jurisdiction of the District Court. Conversely, some matters fall under concurrent jurisdiction, meaning that multiple courts have authority to hear and decide the case. For instance, cases involving property disputes may be within the jurisdiction of both the civil court and the revenue court. In such situations, the plaintiff has the choice to file the case in either of the courts.

 Factors Determining Jurisdiction:       

(a) Pecuniary Jurisdiction : Pecuniary jurisdiction is determined by the monetary value of the claim involved in a case. The CPC categorizes civil courts into different classes, each with a specified monetary limit. The courts are structured in a hierarchical manner, ranging from the lowest to the highest court, based on their pecuniary jurisdiction. Cases falling within the jurisdictional limits of a particular court must be filed in that court.

(b) Territorial Jurisdiction: Territorial jurisdiction signifies the geographical area over which a court has authority. The concept of territorial jurisdiction ensures that a court can handle cases where the cause of action arises within its territorial limits. This prevents parties from filing cases in distant courts and promotes convenience and accessibility.

Importance of Section 9 in Civil Litigation: 

Section 9 plays a pivotal role in defining the jurisdiction of civil courts and ensuring that cases are brought before the appropriate court. It is designed to provide access to justice for all parties involved. By determining the correct forum for the dispute, Section 9 helps prevent forum shopping, which is the practice of selecting a court that is more favorable to one’s interests. This promotes fairness and impartiality in legal proceedings.

Exceptions and Limitations:

While Section 9 provides the general rule of jurisdiction for civil courts, there are certain exceptions and limitations to its application. For instance, matters covered by special laws or those falling within the jurisdiction of specialized tribunals may be excluded from the purview of Section 9. Additionally, parties can challenge the jurisdiction of a court under specific circumstances, such as when the defendant is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court or when the dispute is governed by an arbitration agreement. 

Conclusion: 

Section 9 of the Civil Procedure Code plays a pivotal role in defining the jurisdiction of civil courts. Its provisions ensure that cases are brought before the appropriate court, maintaining fairness and efficiency in the legal system. By understanding the nuances of Section 9, individuals can navigate the complexities of civil litigation more effectively. Whether it is determining the pecuniary limits or the territorial boundaries, Section 9 serves as a cornerstone in establishing the jurisdictional framework. It upholds the principles of accessibility, fairness, and impartiality, promoting the administration of justice in civil matters. 

Written By Nancy Sharma

I am Nancy Mahavir Sharma, a passionate legal writer and , a judicial service aspirant who is interested in legal researching and writing. I have completed Latin Legum Magister degree. I have been writing from past few years and I am excited to share my legal thoughts and opinions here. I believe that everyone has the potential to make a difference.

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