Generally, we can call jurisdiction as the power of the court. In order to take certain awareness of an offence and to decide the cause of action jurisdiction has major role.

According to black’s law dictionary, jurisdiction means, “A court’s power to decide on a case or issue a decree”. 

Suits are generally of various kinds like properties, contracts, matrimony etc. all it depend upon the nature. The major thing which is to be determined while filing the suit is the place of suing. Section 15 to 20 of code of civil procedure deals with the place of suing.


Jurisdiction is defined as the limit of judicial authority in which a court of law can exercise its authority over suits, cases, appeals etc.

The jurisdiction was defined in a case of, Hriday Nath v. Ram Chandra.[1]

The jurisdiction is decided on the basis of:-

  • Pecuniary value
  • Local limits of court
  • The subject matter of court

Therefore, before taking the case, the following points need to be taken. They are:-

  • The pecuniary value of the suit
  • The nature of the case
  • The territorial limits of the court


Civil rights is the private rights and remedies that are different from the criminal and political. The civil court must have jurisdiction to try all the cases except the case which is impliedly or expressly barred.

The suit which is expressly barred means the suit by any statute for time being. The legislation has a choice to stop or restrict the jurisdiction of the civil court with respect to a particular class of suit. The establishment of tribunal has taken by the jurisdiction of the civil court. If any questions raised related to law or any provisions of the act so created the tribunal can be looked into by the civil court. The civil court has no jurisdiction over the matter relating to code of criminal procedure. Revenue court has exclusive jurisdiction.so the matter is dealt with special tribunal under special statutes. For example: – motor accident claims tribunal, cooperative tribunal.

The suit is impliedly barred when it is barred by general principle of law. The court must not deal with the matter which is harmful to the public or public will, this is the main purpose of impliedly barred suit.

In the case of Shankar Narayanan potti v. K. Sreedevi,[2] the Supreme Court held that, civil court has inherent jurisdiction unless the suit is expressly or impliedly barred.

In the case of Balawwa v. Hasanabi,[3] suppose if the part of a case is excluded from the jurisdiction of civil court, then the entire case cannot be initiated in the civil court.   


Place of suing is said to be as the venue of trial. Section 15 to 20 deals with the place of suing. To determine the place of suing, there are three kinds of jurisdiction. They are as follows:-

  • Territorial jurisdiction
  • Pecuniary jurisdiction
  • Subject matter jurisdiction

When a suit is bought before the court, it is essential to determine whether the court has jurisdiction to deal with the matter. If the court has above said three jurisdiction, only then the court can deal with the case. If there is no jurisdiction which is mentioned above then the court cannot deal with the case and it will be considered to be as lack of jurisdiction. Still if the court gives judgment to the case even after knowing that there is no jurisdiction then such decision will be considered to be as invalid.

Pecuniary jurisdiction:-

Section 15 of code of civil procedure tells about pecuniary jurisdiction. Every case must begin in the lowest court. The court must have power to hear the case with regards to pecuniary jurisdiction. The lowest grade court with pecuniary value shall deal with the case at first instance.

For the purpose of determining the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court, the plaintiff makes the valuation of the case unless it is presumed to be appeared that the valuation was not done properly. If the court finds that valuation was not done properly, then the court will value it and the court will instruct the party to approach the appropriate forum.

The jurisdiction of the court is decided by the plaintiff valuation. But not the amount which order is passed.

Illustration: – Suppose if a court has a pecuniary jurisdiction of Rs. 20,000 and the recovery of accounts is filed by the plaintiff on the valuation of suit. The valuation was of Rs. 20,000 and later court finds that Rs. 25,000 is due. Therefore, in this case, the court is not deprived of its jurisdiction to pass a decree for that amount.

In the above said illustration, it is the valuation done by the plaintiff to determine the jurisdiction of the court. But this does not mean that the plaintiff is is free to file any amount during the course of arbitration.

If the valuation is done improperly for the purpose of avoiding the jurisdiction of appropriate court and if court finds that, then the court will ask the plaintiff to prove that valuation was done in a proper manner.

Territorial jurisdiction:-

Section 16 to 20 of code of civil procedure tells about the territorial jurisdiction.

Territorial jurisdiction is divided into three. They are as follows:-

  • Suits related to immovable property (Section 16 to 18)
  • Suits related to movable property (Section 19) 
  • Other suits (Section 20)

Section 16 of code of civil procedure – Section 16 of cpc states that, cases related to immovable property must be initiated where such immovable property is situated. Section 16 of cpc mainly tells about the initiation of the suit in respect to:-

  • Recovery of immovable property with or without profile or rent
  • Partition of immovable property
  • Sale or redemption in case of charge or mortgage upon immovable property
  • Compensation for wrong caused immovable property
  • Determination of any rights related to immovable property
  • Recovery of movable property under distraint

The case must be filed in the court in which the immovable property lies. But if the property falls under the jurisdiction in which there is more than one court, section 17 of code of civil procedure comes into the picture.

 Section 17 of code of civil procedure – Section 17 of cpc states that, in any court the case can be initiated, if it falls under the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court.

Section 18 of code of civil procedure – Section 18 of cpc states that, a place of an institution when the jurisdiction of courts is uncertain. 

Section 19 of code of civil procedure – Movable property

Section 19 of code of civil procedure states that, if a case is filed for wrong act done by a person to another person or to movable property and if the wrong was done within the local limits of the jurisdiction of one court and the defendant resides or carries on business or personal works for gain, within the local limits of the jurisdiction of another court, the case may be initiated at the option of the plaintiffs in either of the said courts. In another words, case can be initiated by the plaintiff at the place of respondent’s residence or at the place where the wrong has happened. 

Illustration: – A person “A” who lives in Guru Gram carries his business of transportation of goods from Delhi. “B” ordered some goods to be transferred from Delhi to Calcutta but in middle i.e., from Lucknow the goods were misplaced.

Here, “B” can sue “A” at Guru Gram because it is his place of residence. Or he can file the case in Lucknow also. Because it was the place where the wrong was committed.

Section 20 of code of civil procedure – Section 20 of cpc covers all the other cases not covered by any of the earlier discussed provisions. The plaintiff can file a case in the following place. They are:-

  • At the time of the commencement of the suit, actually or voluntarily resides, or carries on business or personal works for gain; or 
  • At the time of the commencement of the suit, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business, or personal works for gain, provided that in such case either the leave of the court is given, or the defendants who do not reside, or carry on business, or personally work for gain, as aforesaid, acquiesce in such institution; or
  • The cause of action, wholly or in part arises.

Illustration: – A resides at Shimla, B at Calcutta and Cat Delhi. A, B and C being together at Banaras, B and C makes a joint promissory note payable on demand and deliver it to A. A may file the case against B and C at Banaras, where the cause of action take place. He may also sue them at Calcutta where B resides and Delhi where C resides. But in each of these cases, if the non-resident defendant objects, the suit cannot proceed without the leave of the court.[4] [5]              


This article main highlights on what is jurisdiction, on what basis does the jurisdiction is decided. Also the article highlight the topic on jurisdiction of civil court with suitable case laws. Here it is also mentioned about place of suing which means the place where the trial is taken place. To determine the place of suing there are three kinds of jurisdiction. All it comes under section 15 to 20. The concept of place of suing is very important factor in which it helps the plaintiff where to file a suit.

[1] Hriday Nath v. Ram Chandra (1921) AIR Cal 34.  

[2] Shankar Narayanan Potti v. K.Sreedevi (C.R.P No. 1271 of 1995). 

[3] Balawwa v. Hasanabi (JT 2000(3) SC 600).

[4] Richa Goel, Jurisdictions of Civil Court and Place of Suing, IPLEADERS (Jun, 11, 2019), https://www.google.com/amp/s/blog.ipleaders.in/jurisdictions-civil-court-place-suing/amp/ 

[5] Aakanksha Derashree, How to file a civil suit under code of civil procedure?, LATEST LAWS (Sept, 16, 2018), https://www.latestlaws.com/articles/how-to-file-the-a-civil-suit-under-code-of-civil-procedure-by-aakaksha-derashree/

Authored By: Akshara KV, 8th Semester, SDM Law College, Mangalore

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