IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
SUBJECT: SECTION 24 CPC
IA Nos. 6197/2004 in Suit No.1394/96
and IA No. 6164/2004 in S.No 434/98
Date of decision: 16th November, 2004
Mr. M.K. Modi ..... Plaintiff
Through Mr.S. Ganesh, Sr Adv.
Mr. R. Sethi, Sr Adv, Mr. Manmo-
han with Mr. Pravin Bahadur, Mr. Aditya Narain, Mr. Punit Bhardwaj,
Mr. K.K. Modi . ..... Defendant
Through Mr. A.S. Chandhiok, Sr
Adv., with Ms. Roopa and Manish
H.R. MALHOTRA, J.
1. These are two applications common in nature made in the aforesaid three suits by the defendants under the provisions of Section 24 CPC read with Order 7 Rule 10 and 10A of the Code.
2. What is desired by the defendant/applicant by moving these applications is that the aforesaid suits which were initially instituted in the High Court of Delhi but subsequently transferred to the District Court and again retransferred to this Court by the orders of District Judge because of enhancement of the pecuniary jurisdiction should be again transferred to the District Court by way of return of plaint to the plaintiff under the provisions of Order 7 Rule 10 CPC and then District Judge should pass an order in the light of Order 7 Rule 10 and 10A of the CPC. This in short are the applications of the defendants which applications have been opposed by the plaintiffs by filing reply thereto. There is no denial of the fact that initially the suits were instituted in the High Court of Delhi as at that particular point of time, pecuniary jurisdiction for the claim involved in the suits vested with the High Court only. However, subsequently because of the amendment made, the pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Court was enhanced up to 5 lacs of rupees and for that reason the suits were transferred to the District Courts.
3. The application under Order 6 Rule 17 was made before the Trial Court seeking amendment in the suits raising the pecuniary jurisdiction of the suits now to Rs. 21 lacs which application was allowed and plaintiff was ordered to file amended plaint in that regard. Since pecuniary jurisdiction was allowed to be raised to Rs. 21 lacs therefore the District Court ceased to have jurisdiction to try the present suits and as such the Additional District Judge vide order dated 23rd July,2004 ordered for transfer of the suits to the High Court again. Since Additional District Judge did not have the power to transfer the case and such powers vested only with District Judge or the High Court and it being the case relating to District Court at that time, the Additional District Judge directed the parties to appear before the District Judge on 27th July,2004 and it was the District Judge who had passed orders for transfer of the case to the High Court and directed the parties to appear before the Registrar General on 17th August,2004.
4. By moving the present applications, the defendant seeks orders of the Court that the suits be retransferred to the District Judge by way of return of plaint and the plaintiff should be directed to make an application before the District Court.
5. I have heard learned counsel for both the parties on these applications. At the outset I may observe that the provisions under which these applications have been moved do not corelate with each other. The defendants on one hand seeks transfer of the suits to the District Court and simultaneously makes the prayer that plaint be returned to the Additional District Judge. Provisions of Section 34 and Order 7 Rule 10 and 10A of CPC were enacted with different objects. In my opinion these provisions can not be read together as Section 24 of the Code of Civil Procedure deals with the powers of the High Court as also of the District Judge for the purpose of transfer of suits, appeals or other proceedings or withdrawal thereof. These are in fact general powers which vest with High Court and the District Courts as well whereas Order 7 Rule 10 deals with the situation where plaint can be ordered to be returned to be presented to the Court in which the suit should have been instituted. The cases in hand were not instituted in a Court which had no jurisdiction to try these suits. Originally these were rightly instituted in the High Court. The cases however were transferred to the District Court as pecuniary jurisdiction had been enhanced of the District Court. If arguments of the learned counsel for the defendant is accepted that since District Court ceased to have pecuniary jurisdiction and therefore plaint ought to have been returned instead of transferring the case to the High Court and then in that eventuality the High Court should also have returned the plaint to the plaintiff when the pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Court was raised. It was not done so and rightly as plaintiff had filed the suits in the Courts where it ought to have been filed. Similarly when pecuniary jurisdiction was further allowed to be enhanced by the Additional District Judge by virtue of allowing the application of the plaintiff made under Order 6 Rule 17, it could not be said that the suit was wrongly instituted in the District Courts and therefore provisions of Order 7 Rule 10 CPC attracted in that case.
6. More so the plaintiff never assailed the orders of either of Additional District Judge dated 23.7.2004 or of District Judge ordering transfer of the case to the High Court. Those orders thus attained finality. If these two orders were accepted by the plaintiff at that time how an application under Section 24 or Order 7 Rule 10 can be maintainable at this stage particularly when ultimately suit has to be tried by the High Court itself. Even otherwise reading of Section 24 (5) clearly indicates that suit or proceedings can be transferred under this Section from a Court which has no jurisdiction to try it. Sections 24 (1)(iii) further describes the powers of the High Court as well as that of the District Court for re-transfer of cases. It states that the High Court or the District Court may retransfer any suit, appeal or other proceedings for trial or disposal to the Court from which it was withdrawn. In the instant cases, the suits were withdrawn initially from High Court because of raising of pecuniary jurisdiction and subsequently, it became necessary for District Judge to re-transfer the cases to the High Court because of acceptance of the application of the plaintiff under Order 6 Rule 17 whereby value of the suits in terms of pecuniary jurisdiction were further enhanced to Rs. 21 lacs and therefore the District Judge rightly retransferred the suits to the High Court for trial from which these suits were withdrawn earlier.
7. Therefore, I find no substance in the applications made by the defendant. All the two applications results in dismissal.
November ,2004. H.R. MALHOTRA