The Patna High Court has held that a court or authority having no jurisdiction in the matter cannot be conferred jurisdiction by the parties with their consent. An application was filed for setting aside the award passed by the Permanent Lok Adalat in Partition Suit, by which the suit property was partitioned between the petitioners and the private respondents on the basis of a compromise petition entered between the parties.

A Single Bench of Justice Sandeep Kumar held, “A Court/Authority having no jurisdiction in the matter cannot be conferred jurisdiction by the parties with their consent and the order passed by the said Court/Authority having no jurisdiction over the subject matter is a nullity in the eye of law.”

Advocate Chanda Kant represented the petitioner while SC S.K. Mandal and Advocate Dharmendra Choubey represented the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner was a practicing lawyer based in Patna and most of the time he used to stay in Patna. The petitioner’s son and brother of the petitioner i.e., the respondent decided to partition their property in half-half share as they both were full brothers and the property was to be divided between them alone. In view of this, the petitioner along with the respondent filed a Partition Suit in Permanent Lok Adalat for partition. As there was a settlement between the parties, the petitioner and his son were called by the respondent in the Civil Court and it was represented to them that the compromise petition was being prepared, dividing the ancestral property into half-half shares and accordingly, the petitioners signed the compromise petition.

After the compromise, the petitioner started cultivating his half share of the agricultural property but all of a sudden, in the year 2011, his son was diagnosed with kidney ailment and for his treatment, the petitioner wanted to sell a part of his share of property. The petitioner took an advance of Rs.2,00,000/- from one purchaser but it was objected by the respondent by saying that he could not sell his half share of property as his share was less. Thereafter, the petitioner applied for the certified copy of the award of the Permanent Lok Adalat and came to know that respondent had played fraud upon him and in the schedule which were prepared, was granted one fourth share of the property. Realizing this fraud, the petitioners approached the High Court via the writ petition.

The High Court in the above regard said, “… considering the facts of this case, I am of the view that in this case the subject matter of the Partition Suit does not relate to any of the Public Utility Services, over which the Permanent Lok Adalat can exercise jurisdiction.”

The Court concluded that the impugned award of the Permanent Lok Adalat is without jurisdiction.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the application and set aside the award.

Cause Title- Lallan Pandey & Anr. v. The State of Bihar & Ors.

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