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    Saturday, 2 December 2017

    Objection to Territorial Jurisdiction

    1. Introduction
    The concept of jurisdiction is very important in law because the courts get power and tuthority to inquire into facts, apply the law and decide judgments only if it has jurisdiction . One of the restrictions / limitations upon the jurisdiction of the court is bar of territorial jurisdiction and a general rule the decisions of the court which has no territorial jurisdiction are void but section 21 of C.P.C provides an exception to this general rule which tells the stage and time where the opposite party of the suit should take an objection to the territorial jurisdiction.

    2. RELEVANT PROVISIONS
    Following is the relevant provisions of C.P.C regarding to the
    concerned topic
    (I) Section 21 of C.P.C
    (II) Cross Reference:
    (i) 11 of Suit Valuation Act 1887

    3. MEANING OF TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION
    (i) According to Black's Law dictionary Meaning
    "Territory over which a government or a subdivision thereof or court has jurisdiction".

    (ii) According to Halsbury Second Edition; Vol.8:
    "By jurisdiction is meant the authority which a court has to decide matters that are litigated before it or to take cognizance of matters presented in a formal way for its decision".

    4. REASONS FOR IMPORTANCE OF TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION
    (i) To know the circumstances of the case
    (ii) Convenience to the parties
    (iii) To collect evidence
    (iv) To execute decree against judgment debtor

    5. EFFECT OF TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION
    (I) General Rule
    The general rule of law' is that an order passed by a court not having jurisdiction is nullity in the eyes of law.

    Exceptions to the general. Rule:
    (I) Exception under section 21 of C.P.C
    (ii) Exception under section 11 of Suit Valuation Act, 1887

    6. OBJECTIONS TO JURISDICTION UNDER SECTION 21 OF C.P.C.
    (I) Time For Raising Objections
    The objection to the territorial jurisdiction of the court must be taken at the earliest possible opportunity and a decree passed by a court not having territorial jurisdiction over the subject matter of the , suit will not be set aside if objection to the jurisdiction of the court had not been raised at the earliest possible opportunity. [2002 CLC 159]

    (II) Raising of Objections at Appellate or Revisional Stage:
    (i) General Rule:
    According to section 21 of C.P.C, objections as to the territorial jurisdiction of the court cannot be raised at appellate or revisional stage.

    (ii) Exception
    Objection to the territorial jurisdiction can be allowed  to be raised in appeal or revision proceedings in the following circumstances

    (a) Objection Raised in the Court of First Instance
    •             Where objection has been raised by the party in the court of first instance at the earliest possible opportunity and in all cases where issues, are settled at or before such settlement. [2003 SCMR 686].
    •             This raising objection before the court o first instance which was in time, gives ,the party a right to reasserted the same objection before the superior courts. But where party raises an objection to the territorial jurisdiction before the court of first instance at a late stage which is rejected by the coo then it bars the remedy against such rejection.
    •             Where there is a failure of a justice as a consequence of wrongful assumption of jurisdiction by the court and this can be determine by the court by assessing the merits of the case.

    7. FAILURE OF RAISING OBJECTIONS ON TIME
    Where the party fails to raise an objection to the territorial jurisdiction on time then it will deemed to have been waived such a right and the decision of the court will be res Judicata by virtue of section 11 of C.P.C.

    8. PARTY WHO CAN RAISE AN OBJECTION
    Only defendant party to the suit can raise an objection to the territorial jurisdiction of the court.
    9. SCOPE OF SECTION 21 OF CPC

    Section 21 only talks about the territorial jurisdiction of the court and it does not apply to the cases of want to pecuniary jurisdiction.

    10. Conclusion

    To conclude that territorial jurisdiction is a restriction / limitation upon the jurisdiction of the court without territorial jurisdiction is void but for this there must be an objection by the party to the jurisdiction of the court at the earliest opportunity in the court of first instance and the objection at the appellate or provisional stage is barred except in certain circumstances. Where party fails to raise such an objection at the earliest opportunity than the decisions of the court shall no the void. The section 21 of C.P.C is based on principle of equity and the object is that the objections to territorial jurisdiction should be raised in the form of preliminary objections in the court of first instance. 
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    Item Reviewed: Objection to Territorial Jurisdiction Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Usman Ali
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