January 18, 2024

One important piece of legislation that controls the procedural features of civil litigation in India is the civil procedure code (CPC), 1908. A legal action brought by one party against another in an attempt to settle a civil disagreement is called a “suit.” Different kinds of suits are categorized as “suits of civil nature” by the CPC.

section 9 of cpc explanation 

Section 9 of the CPC states that all civil lawsuits, with the exception of those that are expressly or tacitly prohibited, may be tried in court. Two sections provide more explanations for this:

  • A civil litigation is one in which the claim to property or an office is contested, even though the outcome of the court may have no bearing whatsoever on matters pertaining to religious rites or ceremonies.
  • It does not matter, for the purposes of this section, whether the office mentioned in Explanation I is subject to any fees or is located in a specific location.

According to CPC, Section 9, a civil court may hear any matter only in the following two circumstances:

  • The lawsuit ought to be civil in character.
  • It was not appropriate for the abovementioned suit’s cognizance to be prohibited either explicitly or implicitly.

Section 9 of the Civil Procedure Code forbids civil courts from having jurisdiction. In contrast, Section 9 of the CPC is interpreted broadly by the courts and has been interpreted quite narrowly in order to maximize the authority of the civil court.

section 9 of cpc: Important Pre-requisites

  • First and foremost, a “cause of action” is required. Should there be no evidence of a valid cause of action, the lawsuit may be summarily dismissed. Furthermore, courts have declared that lawsuits seeking interim injunctions are unmaintainable.
  • Second, the plaintiff must have an inherent right to bring legal action against the defendant. It is important to remember that everyone has the inherent right to file a lawsuit under common law.

landmark judgments on section 9 of cpc 

  • In the case of State of AP v Majeti Laxmi Kanth Rao, to determine whether the Civil Courts are not subject to the jurisdiction of other courts, the Supreme Court set a criterion. First, it is necessary to prove that the legislature intended to prohibit the lawsuit. It could be mentioned clearly or subtly. The rationale behind the exclusion of the civil courts must be ascertained by the court; nevertheless, the rationale is not open to judicial review.

The Supreme Court set two standards in this decision to decide when to limit the jurisdiction of a civil court.

  1. Legislative intent should exist to restrict the jurisdiction of the civil court. It may be done directly or indirectly, but the suit’s exclusion must have good reasons.
  2. If the claimant is unable to evade the jurisdiction of the civil court, they shall have access to another remedy.
  3. In the case of Hasham Abbas v Ussman Abbas, the legal standing of a decision made by a court whose authority had been expressly or subtly restricted by statute was the primary topic of discussion among the judges. According to the Supreme Court, a judgment rendered by a court without jurisdiction was coram non judice, meaning it was void. The decision made by the court that lacked jurisdiction will not be subject to the application of the principles of estoppel, waiver, or even res judicata.

Guidelines on section 9 of cpc through Supreme Court Decisions

  • Unless specifically or implicitly prohibited, a civil court is empowered to try any civil action.
  • A court cannot acquire or lose jurisdiction by consent.
  • Any time during the proceedings, including execution and collateral procedures, a decree issued by a court without jurisdiction is void and unenforceable.
  • It is important to distinguish between wrongful exercise of jurisdiction and absence of jurisdiction.
  • Each court is inherently empowered to determine its own jurisdiction.
  • The claims made in a plaint, not the defense’s formal declaration, establish a court’s jurisdiction.
  • The key factor in deciding a court’s jurisdiction is the substance of the matter, not its form.
  • Every assumption pertaining to the jurisdiction of a civil court ought to be made.
  • A statute that takes away a court’s authority needs to be carefully understood.
  • The burden of proof rests with the party asserting a court’s jurisdictional exclusion.
  • A civil court can assess whether the criteria of an act have been met or whether an order was made in contravention of the law, despite its restricted jurisdiction.

Civil lawsuits under the CPC are important to the Indian legal system and are essential to preserving the justice and integrity of the judicial system. When bringing or defending civil lawsuits, parties should be aware of the pertinent CPC provisions and get legal counsel to make sure their rights are safeguarded and justice is done.

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