Suit In Respect To Properties Situated In Jurisdiction Of Different Courts Can Be Instituted In One Of Those Courts: SC [Read Judgment]

Suit In Respect To Properties Situated In Jurisdiction Of Different Courts Can Be Instituted In One Of Those Courts: SC [Read Judgment]

"The word "portion of the property" occurring in Section 17 has to be understood in context of more than one property also, meaning thereby one property out of a lot of several properties can be treated as portion of the property as occurring in Section 17."

The Supreme Court has observed that, a suit in respect to immovable property or properties situate in jurisdiction of different courts may be instituted in any court within whose local limits of jurisdiction, any portion of the property or one or more properties may be situated.

The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph observed that interpretation of word "portion of the property" in Section 17 CPC cannot only be understood in a limited and restrictive sense of being portion of one property situated in jurisdiction of two courts.

Applying this interpretation, the Section 17 would read thus: The suit may be instituted in any Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction any portion of the property (or Properties) is situate. This would further imply that one property out of a lot of several properties can be treated as 'portion of the property'.

In this case (Shivnarayan vs. Maniklal), the court agreed with the submission made by the appellant's counsel that the word "property" as occurring in Section 17 shall also include the plural as per Section 13 of General Clauses Act, 1897, which provides that 'words in the singular shall include the plural'.

Answering the issue whether Section 17 applies only when a composite property spread in jurisdiction of two Courts or Section 17 contemplate any wider situation, the bench said:

"The word "property" under Section 17 of the Civil Procedure code may also be properties, hence, in a schedule of plaint, more than one property can be included. Section 17 can be applied in event there are several properties, one or more of which may be located in different jurisdiction of courts. The word "portion of the property" occurring in Section 17 has to be understood in context of more than one property also, meaning thereby one property out of a lot of several properties can be treated as portion of the property as occurring in Section 17. Thus, interpretation of word "portion of the property" cannot only be understood in a limited and restrictive sense of being portion of one property situated in jurisdiction of two courts."

The bench, referring to various judgments and provisions of CPC summarized the scope and ambit of Section 17 as follows:

  • The word 'property' occurring in Section 17 although has been used in 'singular' but by virtue of Section 13 of the General Clauses Act it may also be read as 'plural', i.e., "properties".
  • The expression 'any portion of the property' can be read as portion of one or more properties situated in jurisdiction of different courts and can be also read as portion of several properties situated in jurisdiction of different courts.
  • A suit in respect to immovable property or properties situate in jurisdiction of different courts may be instituted in any court within whose local limits of jurisdiction, any portion of the property or one or more properties may be situated.
  • A suit in respect to more than one property situated in jurisdiction of different courts can be instituted in a court within local limits of jurisdiction where one or more properties are situated provided suit is based on same cause of action with respect to the properties situated in jurisdiction of different courts.

However, though the court favoured the interpretation of Section 17 made by the counsel for appellant, it dismissed the appeal on the ground of mis-joinder of parties and causes of action.

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