The Bombay High Court observed that entertainment of any application in a Suit, which is transferred out of jurisdiction of a Court, is neither permissible nor desirable.

The Court observed thus in an interim application filed by a cooperative society for amendment seeking to increase the valuation of suit over which the court had already lost pecuniary jurisdiction.

A Single Bench of Justice Sandeep V. Marne held, “It must be borne in mind that pecuniary jurisdiction of subordinate courts are also altered from time to time. Permitting one class or sub-class of applications to be entertained by courts even after loss of pecuniary jurisdiction would create confusion and chaos as well as result in misuse of such liberties by usurping jurisdictions by Courts who have already lost jurisdiction over particular category of suits. Seen from this angle also, I am of the view that entertainment of any application in a Suit, which is transferred out of jurisdiction of a Court, is neither permissible nor desirable. This is particularly true where the enactment, under which jurisdiction is taken away, provides for automatic and instant transfer of suits.”

Brief Facts -

The issue arose in the light of the Bombay City Civil Court (Amendment) Act, 2023 (Amendment Act, 2023) increasing the pecuniary jurisdiction of the City Civil Court to Rs.10 Crores. The valuation of the suit filed by plaintiffs was Rs. 6,75,00,000/-. Under Section 4A of the Bombay City Civil Court Act, 1948 (City Civil Court Act) as amended by the Amendment Act 2023, there is a provision for transfer of all suits falling in pecuniary jurisdiction of City Civil Court and pending in the High Court, as on the date of coming into force of the Amendment Act 2023, to the City Civil Court.

The plaintiffs filed Interim Application for amendment of plaint, by which they sought to amend the valuation clause to increase the valuation of the suit at Rs. 100 Crores. The Amendment Act, 2023, however came into force on January 28, 2024 as per the notification issued by the Law and Judiciary Department of Government of Maharashtra on 16 January 2024. The plaintiffs contended that notwithstanding increase of pecuniary jurisdiction of City Civil Court, since the revised valuation of the suit after allowing the amendments would be more than Rs. 10 Crores, the suit would again fall in pecuniary jurisdiction of the Court.

The High Court in view of the above facts noted, “After considering the express language employed in Section 4A of the amended City Civil Court Act, I am of the view that the present suit stood transferred to the City Civil Court as on 28 January 2024 and this Court has lost jurisdiction over it. Once the High Court has lost jurisdiction in the present suit, propriety requires that all applications filed in the suit are decided by the Court to which the suit stands transferred. … Independent of the judgments cited before me, I am of the view that permitting a Court to entertain or decide any application filed in a Suit, which is already transferred to another Court, would set a dangerous trend where Courts, despite losing jurisdiction, would continue to exercise jurisdiction in an indirect manner over those suits.”

The Court further said that jurisdiction is an authority conferred on a court to decide or adjudicate any dispute and it also signifies a limit or restriction within which a court has to exercise such authority and it is therefore necessary that clear boundaries of Court’s jurisdiction are set out and Courts do not transgress the same on a case to case basis. It added that the clarity on Court’s pecuniary jurisdiction must be achieved so as to prevent any chaos amongst the parties.

“In the present case, Plaintiffs’ application is mainly to add subsequent events, an additional Defendant as well as to add fresh prayers. It is an extensive amendment, with replacement of valuation clause being just a minor part of thereof. Whether under the guise of permitting alteration of valuation clause, this Court can usurp the jurisdiction of City Civil Court to decide the other amendments also? The answer to this question, to my mind, appears to be in the negative. Plaintiffs’ insistence on this Court deciding application for amendment is premised on a sanguine hope that this Court would allow the amendment. If after hearing parties, Court decides to reject the proposed amendment, would the order deciding application for amendment in a transferred suit be valid? If Plaintiffs’ contention is accepted, only an order allowing the amendment can be passed by a Court in a transferred Suit and not an order of rejection. Such selective and result oriented jurisdiction cannot be conferred on Courts”, it also said.

The Court concluded that the application for amendment of plaint filed by plaintiffs cannot be decided by the Court and that it needs to be decided by the City Civil Court, to which the suit has already been transferred on January 28, 2024.

Accordingly, the High Court directed the Registry to take immediate steps for transmission of all papers in the suit to the City Civil Court so as to enable the plaintiffs to press their Interim Applications for amendment and for Interim Orders before the City Civil Court.

Cause Title- Grand Paradi Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. & Ors. v. Mont Blanc Properties & Industries Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. And K. Raheja Corp Real Estate Pvt. Ltd. (Neutral Citation: 2024:BHC-OS:2929)


Senior Advocates Navroz Seervai, Janak Dwarkadas, Vineet Naik, Advocates Lizom Wangdi, Bindi Dave, Raghav Gupta, Kashish Mainkar, Sanyukta Karne, Rahul Dwarkadas, Sukhada Wagle, Nutash Kotwal, Cyrus Ardeshir, Radhika Gupta, and Saher Naqvi.

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