Answering a matter in reference, a division bench of the High Court of Kerala has ruled that in cases arising out of violation of injunction order, the appropriate forum would be the court of the lowest hierarchy.
A division bench presided by Justice V Chitambaresh and Sathish Ninan was considering a matter in reference by a single bench. The necessary facts of the case would be as thus: The plaintiff sought for an order of temporary injunction pending disposal of the suit, which was declined by the trial court, but later allowed by the appellate court.
The defendants, thereupon, approached the high court assailing the same through original petition (civil).
The high court set aside the judgment of the appellate court. The court further modified the interim arrangement to be made pending disposal of the suit before the trial court.
The plaintiffs, thereafter, filed a petition alleging violation of injunction order before the trial court, which was objected by the defendants. The defendants took up the matter before the high court under Article 227 of the Constitution, disputing the maintainability of the petition preferred by the plaintiffs.
The defendants contended that the injunction order alleged to be violated has arisen pursuant to an order of the high court and, hence, any petition in that context ought to be filed before the high court, and not to the trial court, which is seized of the matter.
Since the matter required authoritative pronouncement, the single bench referred it to the division bench.
Justice V Chitambaresh, who wrote the order under reference, observed that a procedural statute like CPC should not be construed in a literal sense, without understanding the scheme of the statute.
The court observed that Order XXXI Rule 2A is a deeming provision, which enables the court seized of the matter to deal with issues arising out of violation of an injunction order by itself, as if passed by the trial court itself.
The judicial reasoning was explained by Justice V. Chitambaresh as follows: “Expediency warrants that the court where the main proceeding is pending (which in the instant case is the court of the munsiff where the suit is pending) deals with an application of that nature. Similarly the appellate court (if the appeal suit is pending on its file) shall deal with an application alleging violation of injunction in respect of an interim order passed in the appeal suit. This will obviate the necessity to pursue two independent proceedings in two different forums parallely between the same parties in respect of the same subject matter of the lis.”
The court even though held that jurisdiction could be exercised concurrently in these matters, observed that it would be advisable for the parties to agitate the same in the court of the lowest hierarchy as a first instance.
This would enable the parties later on to pursue appropriate remedies in appeal, the court added.