The Supreme Court while explaining guiding tests with regard to Article 226(2) of the Constitution has held that the facts which are not relevant for the grant of prayer would not give rise to a cause of action conferring jurisdiction on the Court.

The Court in a matter said that merely because the petitioning company has its office in Gangtok, Sikkim, the same by itself does not form an integral part of the cause of action authorizing the company to move the High Court.

The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Dipankar Datta observed, “… the party invoking the writ jurisdiction has to disclose that the integral facts pleaded in support of the cause of action do constitute a cause empowering the high court to decide the dispute and that, at least, a part of the cause of action to move the high court arose within its jurisdiction. Such pleaded facts must have a nexus with the subject matter of challenge based on which the prayer can be granted. Those facts which are not relevant or germane for grant of the prayer would not give rise to a cause of action conferring jurisdiction on the court. These are the guiding tests.”

The Bench relied upon the case of National Textile Corporation Ltd. vs. Haribox Swalram (2004) 9 SCC 786 while explaining the tests for the cause of action.

Advocate Ravindra A. Lokhande appeared on behalf of the appellant while Advocates Mukesh Kumar Maroria, Raj Bahadur Yadav, and Sameer Abhyankar appeared on behalf of the respondents.

Brief Facts

Separate applications in three writ petitions were filed by the appellant i.e., the State of Goa seeking its deletion from the array of respondents in the High Court. It was urged by the State that to avoid conflict of opinions, the writ petitioners could either independently challenge the notification before the Bombay High Court, Goa or apply for intervention.

The High Court, by a common judgment and order dismissed the three applications. The question that arose for consideration before the Apex Court was whether the High Court was justified in returning the finding that “at least a part of the cause of action has arisen within the jurisdiction of this Court” and premised on such a finding, to dismiss the applications.

The Supreme Court while considering the aforementioned question noted, “While dealing with an objection as to lack of territorial jurisdiction to entertain a writ petition on the ground that the cause of action has not arisen within its jurisdiction, a high court essentially has to arrive at a conclusion on the basis of the averments made in the petition memo treating the contents as true and correct. That is the fundamental principle.”

The Court further noted that the High Court ought not to have dismissed the applications of the appellant without considering the petition memo which had no semblance of a case having been made out as to how part of cause of action arose within the territorial limits of the High Court or without any pleading as to how any right has been affected within the territory of Sikkim.

“Even otherwise, the High Court was not justified in dismissing the interim applications. Assuming that a slender part of the cause of action did arise within the State of Sikkim, the concept of forum conveniens ought to have been considered by the High Court”, the Court asserted.

The Court said that the High Court erred in dismissing the applications of the appellant and hence it may proceed to decide the writ petitions against other respondents according to the law.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeals and set aside the judgment of the High Court.

Cause Title- The State of Goa v. Summit Online Trade Solutions (P) Ltd. & Ors.

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