CPC Case Brief – Shiv Kumar Chaddha v. MCD

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Facts: Appeal has been filed against an order passed by the Delhi HC directing the Municipal corporation of Delhi to issue appropriate notices to the owners/ occupiers/ builders of the buildings where illegal constructions have been made. The Corporation has been directed that if it finds that the constructions are beyond the compoundable limits, then to seal the same and demolish thereafter. The other part of the order said that “no civil suit will be entertained by any court in Delhi in respect of any action taken or proposed to be taken by the Corporation with regard to the sealing and/ or demolition of any building or any part thereof.”

Issue: The issue before the court was regarding the second part of the order, whether such a statutory bar on the jurisdiction of civil courts would be valid where certain enactments so restrained and made alternative arrangements for civil redressal? (Sec 9 of CPC)

Holding:

Even if jurisdiction of a civil court is excluded, the civil courts have jurisdiction to examine into cases where the provisions of the act have not been complied with, or the statutory tribunal has not acted in conformity with the fundamental procedure of judicial procedure.

If an Act provides a complete machinery for adjudication of all claims and there is a bar on the jurisdiction of any court, then the Act overrides other laws, including sec 9 of the CPC and there is no scope for the civil court to any suit.

This Court in the judgments referred to above has upheld the ouster of the jurisdiction of the Court on examination of two questions – (1) Whether the right or liability in respect whereof grievance has been made, had been created under an enactment and it did not relate to a pre-existing common law right? (2) Whether the machinery provided for redressal of the grievance in respect of infringement of such right or imposition of a liability under such enactment, was adequate and complete? The ouster of the jurisdiction of the Court was upheld on the finding that the rights or liabilities in question had been created by the Act in question and remedy provided therein was adequate.

The Act purports to regulate the common law right of the citizens to erect or construct buildings of their choice. This right existed since time immemorial. But with the urbanisation and development of the concept of planned city, regulations, restrictions, on such common law right have been imposed. Once the Court is satisfied that either the provisions of the Act are not applicable to the building in question or the basic procedural requirements which are vital in nature, have not been followed, it shall have jurisdiction, to enquire and investigate while protecting the common law rights of the citizens.

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