HC upholds single judge's ruling

Our Legal Correspondent

The present suit being one for control of land lying outside the jurisdiction of this Court, it had no jurisdiction to entertain it.

Chennai, March 3

The Madras High Court has held that a suit for control of land lying outside the jurisdiction of this Court, could not be entertained, and, consequently, no leave could be granted in favour of the plaintiff.

The Court also said that the expression `suit for land' in Clause 15 of the Letters Patent should not be confined and limited to suits for recovery of possession or to obtain a declaration of title to land only. The present suit being one for control of land lying outside the jurisdiction of this Court, it had no jurisdiction to entertain it, and consequently, the single judge had `rightly' revoked leave granted in favour of the defendant, the First Bench, consisting of Chief Justice Mr A.P. Shah and Mr Justice M. Jaichandran said.

The plaintiff had in a suit prayed for a decree of permanent injunction restraining the defendant from entering into the Schedule

A property and disturbing the possession of the plaintiff and for a mandatory injunction directing the defendant to restrict their activities to that of Schedule B property.

A company, Citrex Products Ltd, owned 30.8 acres in Ponneri Taluk. The plaintiff entered into an agreement on August 25, 1995, with the company for purchase of 25.8 acres out of 30.8 acres. The defendant entered into an agreement with the company on March 12, 1997, to buy the balance 5 acres. Following the accord, the defendant attempted to interfere with the remaining extent of land. Hence, the suit.

The plaintiff filed an application for grant of leave on the ground that the agreement was entered into by the defendant only at Chennai. By an order dated July 20, 2005, the single judge granted leave. The defendant had in an application sought leave to revoke the said leave.

The Bench said that a reading of paragraph 20 of the plaint clearly showed that the allegation of the plaintiff was that since the defendant was encroaching upon the Schedule A property, which was beyond the territorial jurisdiction of this Court, the plaintiff had sought for a decree for permanent injunction.

Quoting an order of the apex Court, the Bench said that if a suit was for determination of title to land, it could be filed only in the court in whose jurisdiction the land was situated. A Division Bench of the High Court had held that a suit involving determination of title and interest of land would be a `suit for land.'

The present suit being one for control of land lying outside the jurisdiction of this Court, it had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit, and consequently the single judge had rightly revoked the leave. As a result, the appeal by Thamiraparani Investments Pvt Ltd was dismissed. Mr M.S. Krishnan argued the case on behalf of the respondent, Meta Films Pvt Ltd.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 4, 2006)
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