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2007 (4) TMI 741

Civil Appeal No. 1921 OF 2007 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.4586 of 2006) - Dated:- 12-4-2007 - Tarun Chatterjee And P.K. Balasubramanyan, JJ. JUDGMENT: P.K. Balasubramanyan, 1. Leave granted. 2. The appellant, hereinafter referred to as the plaintiff, is the daughter of Nawab Iftikar Ali Khan and Mehar Taj Sajeda Sultan. Defendants 1 and 2, who are respondents 1 and 2 herein, are her siblings. Defendant No.3 is her niece, being the daughter of her brother, Defendant No.1. Defendant Nos.4 and 5 are assignees from Defendant No.2. 3. The plaintiff filed a suit C.S. (OS) No.495 of 2004 on the original side of the High Court of Delhi praying for the following reliefs: "(a) Pass a decree of declaration declaring the oral Will dated 1.1.1995 allegedly made by Her Highness Begum Mehar Taj Sajida Sultan was never made, further declare that the Sale deed purported to have been executed on behalf of Defendant No.2 in favour of Defendant No.4 and 5 as null and void; (b) to pass a decree of partition in favour of the plaintiff in respect of her entitled share in view of the Islamic Personal Law i.e. < of total properties/estates, out of 180 Kanals and 12 Morlas situated at Village Pataudi, .....

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the following averment in paragraph 3(d) of the plaint was emphasised. "Present suit is being confined to the properties situate at Village Patudi, Gurgaon (Haryana), left behind by the mother who had purchased these properties. So far as the other properties either left behind by their mother, father or other relatives are concerned, the Plaintiff is reserving her valuable rights to claim in due course, if need be." The description of the suit properties set out in paragraph 3(h) was also relied on. 6. On behalf of the plaintiff, this plea was resisted by contending that the first declaration regarding the alleged oral Will of the mother wholly arose within the jurisdiction of the court at Delhi and since that part of the prayer fell within the jurisdiction of the court at Delhi, the court at Delhi had jurisdiction to entertain the suit. It was contended that the cause of action regarding the will and the declaration sought in respect thereof, wholly arose in Delhi and that even otherwise, three of the defendants were residing in Delhi, within the jurisdiction of the court at Delhi and, in any event, on that ground and on the ground that a part of the cause of action aro .....

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other reliefs of partition, accounting and declaration of invalidity of the sale executed by Defendant No.2 were all reliefs that would flow only if the relief regarding the declaration of Will was granted to the plaintiff and consequently, those reliefs could be perceived to be only consequential reliefs. Counsel also pointed out that even if Section 16(a) and (d) of the Code had application, it was a case to which the proviso to Section 16 of the Code applied, especially in the context of the fact that at least three of the defendants were residing within the jurisdiction of the trial court. It was, therefore, contended that the decision to return the plaint was unsustainable in law. Counsel for the defendants, on the other hand, contended that in pith and substance, the plaint was for partition of the properties situate in village Pataudi in Gurgaon that lay outside the territorial jurisdiction of the court at Delhi and when that is so, the suit had to be instituted only in the court having jurisdiction over the property in question and the High Court was right in holding that Section 16(b) and (d) of the Code squarely applied to the case on hand in the light of the releifs clai .....

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t what was called for was a meaningful - not formal - reading of the plaint and any illusion created by clever drafting of the plaint should be buried then and there. In Official Trustee, West Bengal & Ors. Vs. Sachindra Nath Chatterjee & Anr. [(1969) 3 S.C.R. 92], this Court approving the statement of the law by Mukherjee Acting Chief Justice in Hirday Nath Roy Vs. Ramchandra Barna Sarma, [I.L.R. 48 Calcutta 138 F.B.] held: "Before a court can be held to have jurisdiction to decide a particular matter it must not only have jurisdiction to try the suit brought but must also have the authority to pass the orders sought for. It is not sufficient that it has some jurisdiction in relation to the subject- matter of the suit. Its jurisdiction must include the power to hear and decide the questions at issue, the authority to hear and decide the particular controversy that has arisen between the parties." 11. Reading the plaint as a whole in this case, there cannot be much doubt that the suit is essentially in relation to the relief of partition and declaration in respect of the properties situate in Village Pataudi, Gurgaon, outside the jurisdiction of court at Delhi. It .....

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