CPC Case Brief – Harshad Modi v. DLF Universal (Jurisdiction – Proviso Section 16)

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Fact:- Property is situated in Gurgaon District. But suit for declaration, for specific performance of an agreement for possession of property and for permanent injunction, was filed in Delhi court.

Issue:-

Whether the suit against the immovable property can be tried by the courts in the Delhi jurisdiction when the property is situated at Gurgaon.

Holding:-

The apex court held that section 16 recognizes a well-established principle that action against res or property should be brought in the forum where such res or property situate. A court within whose territorial jurisdiction the property is not situated has no power to deal with and decide the rights or interests in such property.

This Court found that the agreement conferring jurisdiction on a court not having jurisdiction was not legal, valid and enforceable

The proviso to Section 16, no doubt, states that though the court cannot, in case of immovable property situate beyond jurisdiction, grant a relief in rem still it can entertain a suit where the relief sought can be obtained through the personal obedience of the defendant. The proviso is an exception to the main part of the section which cannot be interpreted or construed to ‘enlarge’ the scope of the principal provision. It would apply only if the suit falls within one of the categories specified in the main part of the section and the relief sought could entirely be obtained by the personal obedience of the defendant. The proviso to section 16 is applicable only when the relief sought is obtainable through the personal obedience of the defendant, i.e., when the defendant has not at all go out of the jurisdiction of the court for such purpose. It enables a person to file a suit in the court within local limits of whose jurisdiction the defendant actually or voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain.

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