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As per Order XLI Rule 22 CPC, cross objection is not necessary to challenge adverse findings: The Supreme Court of India

This Court in view of its plenary jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution read with its power to do 38 complete justice under Article 142, can entertain new grounds raised for the first time if it involves a question of law which does not require adducing additional evidence, specifically one concerning jurisdiction of the court which goes to the root of the matter. The aforesaid has been established by the Supreme Court while adjudicating the case of Shri Saurav Jain & Anr v. M/s A. B. P. Design & Anr [ Civil Appeal No. 4448 of 2021] which was decided upon by a two-judge bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah on 5th August 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. In this case, the Trial Court dismissed a suit though it rejected the defendant’s objection regarding lack of jurisdiction of the Trial Court. The High Court allowed the appeal by the plaintiff and reversed the judgment of the Trial Court. It was held that the auction. conducted by Moradabad Development Authority in respect of the land in dispute is null and void. The question of jurisdiction was not considered by the High Court because he did not file a cross-objection against this finding of the Trial Court on the exercise of its jurisdiction. Saurav Jain, the defendant- auction purchaser who purchased the suit land from the MDA, approached the Apex court in appeal. He contended that the jurisdiction of the civil court is impliedly excluded under the provisions of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act 1976. Referring to Order XLI Rule 22 of the CPC, it was contended that a party, in whose favour the civil court has decreed a suit, can raise arguments against findings without having to file a cross- objection, in the appeal.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented. It analysed the history and scope of Order XLI Rule 22 CPC and came to the conclusion that ULCRA impliedly excludes the jurisdiction of the civil court on matters arising out of ceiling proceeding. The exact words as quoted were Though the appellant did not assail the finding of the Trial Court on the issue of jurisdiction before the High Court under Order XLI Rule 22 CPC either by filing a memorandum of cross-objection or otherwise, he is not precluded from raising the argument before this Court. This Court in view of its plenary jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution read with its power to do 38 complete justice under Article 142, can entertain new grounds raised for the first time if it involves a question of law which does not require adducing additional evidence, specifically one concerning jurisdiction of the court which goes to the root of the matter.”

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