OUSTER OF JURISDICTION

Define the term “jurisdiction” and explain the concept of jurisdiction in reference of Dhulabhai vs. State of Madhya Pradesh.

According to the law of land i.e. the Constitution of India, state is a guardian of each and every citizen of this country and it is a responsibility of state to protect the rights of each and every citizen. But if any wrongdoer commits any act and by that act, he violates the rights of another person then the latter person has inherent right to file a suit against the wrongdoer and claim compensation from him for violating his rights. But the question arises here is, “where can an aggrieved person file a suit against the wrongdoer?”

In our Indian Legal system, the jurisdiction of each and every court has been prescribed by the state and according to the jurisdiction of a court, an aggrieved person can file a suit in a court. Now, one question again arises here is, “what does jurisdiction means?”

The term jurisdiction has been derived from two Latin words i.e. ‘Juris’ and ‘Dicto’ which means ‘I speak by the law’. It means that law has given an authority to the court and because of that authority, the court is entertaining the suit. In our legal system there are various kinds of courts and some are lower courts and some are higher court. The jurisdiction of each and every court is not same. It varies from court to court and after determining that the particular court has jurisdiction to try a particular matter in issue then only suit has to be filed in that court.

In the leading case of Dhulabhai vs. State of M.P. (AIR 1969 SC 78), the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that, “ if any suit has been filed in any court and the question arises after filing the suit that whether this court has jurisdiction to try the suit, then the burden of proof will be upon that party who raises the question of jurisdiction. If he fails to prove his burden of proof then in such a case, the court can deem that it has jurisdiction to try the suit.”

Moreover, the legislature has power to expressly or impliedly bar the jurisdiction of a civil court and give jurisdiction to any particular tribunal. It means that sometimes, special tribunals have been established by statutes and in that statutes it is clearly mentioned that the particular matter in issue will be tried by the tribunal and not by civil courts. In such situations, the civil courts will not have jurisdiction to entertain any suit regarding that matter in issue.

But in this case i.e. Dhulabhai vs. State of M.P. (AIR 1969 SC 78), the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that, “any provision which expressly bars the jurisdiction of civil court should be construed strictly and every presumption should be made in favour of the jurisdiction of a civil court. Moreover, in this case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that, if any suit has been entertained by a tribunal but that tribunal does not follow the procedure laid down by the statute or if that tribunal does not provide the adequate remedy or if the provisions of the statute that provides the jurisdiction to the tribunal held unconstitutional then in such circumstances, the Civil court has authority to entertain the abovesaid matter in issue.”

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