Bombay High Court in Abdul Sattar Haji Usman and Anr vs The Archbishop of Bombay has re-iterated the principles relating to exclusion of Civil Court’s Jurisdiction. Justice S.C.Gupte relied on the Constitution Bench Judgment of Supreme Court of India in Rama Swarup vs. Shikar Chand, where it is held as follows;
"The two tests, which are often considered relevant in dealing with the question about the exclusion of civil courts' jurisdiction are
(a) Whether the special statute which excludes such jurisdiction has used clear and unambiguous words indicating that intention, and
(b) Does that statute provide for an adequate and satisfactory alternative remedy to a party that may be aggrieved by the relevant order under its material provisions.
Applying these tests the inference is inescapable that the jurisdiction of the civil courts is intended to be excluded. The bar excluding the jurisdiction of civil courts cannot operate in cases where the plea raised before the civil court goes to the root of the matter and would, if upheld, lead to the conclusion that the impugned order is a nullity.
The High Court has summarized the Principles as follows;
(1) If there is express provision in any special Act barring the jurisdiction of a civil court to deal with matters specified there under the jurisdiction of an ordinary civil court shall stand excluded.
(2) If there is no express provision in the Act but an examination of the provisions contained therein lead to a conclusion in regard to exclusion of jurisdiction of a civil court, the court would then inquire whether any adequate and efficacious alternative remedy is provided under the Act; if the answer is in the affirmative, it can safely be concluded that the jurisdiction of the civil court is barred. If, however, no such adequate and effective alternative remedy is provided then exclusion of the jurisdiction of civil court cannot be inferred.
(3) Even in cases where the jurisdiction of a civil court is barred expressly or impliedly, the court would nonetheless retain its jurisdiction to entertain and adjudicate the suit provided the order complained of is a nullity."
Read the Judgment here.