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2015 (8) TMI 932 - BOMBAY HIGH COURT

2015 (8) TMI 932 - BOMBAY HIGH COURT - TMI - Territorial jurisdiction to entertain suit location of registered office of the company or location of carrying business or location of directors or location of regional office - Cause of action arising at principle place Whether Trial Judge was right in taking view that respondent having only regional office in Mumbai, part of cause of action must also arise in Mumbai Held that:- Supreme court in case of Jindal Vijaynagar Steel [2006 (8) TMI 59 .....

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ion of current Court through its regional office, it is not necessary to consider whether cause of action or any part thereof arose within territorial limits of current Court Requirements of clause 12 are clearly satisfied once defendant is stated to be carrying on its business through regional office within territorial limits Impugned order set aside and summary suit is maintainable under Clause12 of Letters Patent Decided in favour of Appellant. - Appeal (L) NO.541 OF 2015 In Leave Petit .....

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proposed to be filed by the appellant plaintiff against the respondent defendant. 2. The respondent defendant is a limited company with its registered office at Bhavnagar in Gujarat. The defendant, however, has its regional office in Mumbai within the territorial jurisdiction of this Court. The learned trial Judge took the view that since the registered office of the defendant, which is its principal place of business is in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, the defendant cannot be taken to be carrying on its .....

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could not be granted under clause 12 of the Letters Patent. 3. The learned counsel for the appellant submits that the view taken by the learned Single Judge in the impugned order is erroneous and contrary to the law settled by this Court in Pratap Singh v. The Bank of America, 1976 Vol.78 Bom. L.R. 549 and also by the Supreme Court in Jindal Vijaynagar Steel (JSW Steel Ltd.) v. Jindal Praxair Oxygen Company Ltd., 2006 (11) SCC 521. 4. We have perused the plaint and the averments made by the plai .....

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ts its operation through its office located at S.V. Road, Mumbai. The plaintiff has, accordingly, sought relief under clause 12 of the Letters Patent for filing the present suit for recovery of monies for the goods sold and delivered to the defendants. 5. Clause 12 of the Letters Patent reads as under: 12. Original jurisdiction as to suits: And we do further ordain that the said High Court of Judicature at Bombay, in the exercise of its ordinary original civil jurisdiction, shall be empowered to .....

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personally work for gain, within such limits; except that the said High Court shall not have such original jurisdiction in cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Small Causes Court at Bombay, or the Bombay City Civil Court. (emphasis supplied) 6. Section 20 of the CPC with explanation reads as under:- 20. Other suits to be instituted where defendants reside or cause of action arises. Subject to the limitations aforesaid, every suit shall be instituted in Court within the local limits of wh .....

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ants who do not reside, or carry on business, or personally work for gain, as aforesaid, acquiesce in such institution; or (c) the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises. Explanation. A corporation shall be deemed to carry on business at its sole or principal office in India or, in respect of any cause of action arising at any place where it has also a subordinate office, at such place. (emphasis supplied) Section 120 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 reads as under : "S.120. Provisions .....

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immovable property such land or property is situated within Mumbai, or (2) if the cause of action has arisen wholly in Mumbai, or (3) if the cause of action has arisen in part in Mumbai, the leave of the Court shall have been first obtained, or (4) if the defendant at the time of the commencement of the suit dwells or carries on business, or personally works for gain in Mumbai. It is thus clear that the fourth category of cases do not require consideration of the question whether the cause of a .....

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of the cause of action must also arise in Mumbai. 9. In Pratap Singh v. The Bank of America, 1976 Vol.78 Bom. L.R. 549, a Division Bench of this Court has in terms held that for the purposes of Clause12, the defendant may carry on business through an agent or agents and, therefore, a defendant having a branch office or a regional office in Mumbai has to be treated as carrying on business in Mumbai. The Division Bench also held that where a company carries on business in Mumbai, the question whet .....

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ate in India and corporations as are incorporated outside India (i.e. foreign corporations). 4. Under the last part of cl. 12 of the Letters Patent a suit can be brought on the Original Side of this Court if the defendant at the time of institution of the suit dwells or carries on business or personally works for gain within the limits of such original jurisdiction of this High Court. For consideration of jurisdiction under this head, the consideration whether the cause of action has accrued who .....

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s. 6. We are concerned here with a defendant having a branch office within the limits of the jurisdiction of this High Court. It was submitted that the defendant could carry on business only at its' principal office i.e. the Head Office at San Francisco, U.S.A., where there exists their Board of Directors which can take final decisions. It was submitted that it was only at this place that the defendant could be said to be carrying on business. It is impossible to accept this restrictive mean .....

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cial knowledge. If there is a proper denial of such allegation, then the answer to the issue of jurisdiction may be required to be given after necessary evidence is taken. However, for the purpose of considering this question it is not required that at the place which is within the jurisdiction of the Court there must be some person or agency not subject to supervision or regulation from outside. All that is required is whether within the limits of jurisdiction of this Court is the defendant by .....

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a or at all other places of business i.e. where it carries on business provided the cause of action has arisen at such place." (emphasis supplied) 10. Though principle no.10 in the Division Bench judgment made a reference to explanation under section 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure, in our view, it is not necessary to dwell further on the Division Bench judgment, because subsequently in Jindal Vijaynagar Steel case (supra), the Supreme Court has rejected the argument of reading the explan .....

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by the Board of Directors of both the parties in Bangalore. The interpretation of the obligations of the parties under various provisions of the settlement agreement was in dispute in arbitration invoked by the respondent against the appellant. The respondent filed a petition under section 9 of the Arbitration Act in this Court. This Court held that the jurisdiction of the Court under the provisions of the Arbitration Act may be assumed by the Court exercising jurisdiction in a place where no pa .....

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t; and that the settled law was that it is the situs of the cause of action and not the place of business which is the deciding factor in determining jurisdiction under section 2(1)(e) of the Arbitration Act. It was also contended that the principle in the explanation to section 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure must be applied to clause 12 of the Bombay Letters Patent, although section 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure does not, in terms, apply to the High Court in exercise of its original civi .....

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nation of where a suit may be filed and that the appellant is merely seeking to apply the additional clarificatory principle relating to corporate defendants stated in section 20 of CPC to clause 12 of the Letters Patent. That was the argument before the Supreme Court which commended to the learned Single Judge in the instant case, but which has not been accepted by the Supreme Court. 13. The respondent submitted that the Bombay High Court would have jurisdiction under Clause12 of the Letters Pa .....

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refers to sections 16, 17 and 20 and makes them inapplicable to the Letters Patent. The Letters Patent, is a special charter conferring jurisdiction on Chartered High Courts. When there is a special enactment such as the Letters Patent, which expressly lays down the criteria on the jurisdiction of the Chartered High Court, it is totally unnecessary and in fact futile to refer to another legislation such as the CPC (which is not applicable) to determine the jurisdiction of Chartered High Court. .....

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