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Objection of territorial jurisdiction has to be construed after taking all averments in the plaint to be correct: High Court of Delhi

When an objection to jurisdiction is raised by way of demurrer and not at the trial, the objection must proceed on the basis that the facts as pleaded by the initiator of the impugned proceedings are true. Objection of territorial jurisdiction has to be construed after taking all averments in the plaint to be correct. While considering a plaint from the standpoint of Order VII Rule 10 CPC, it is only the plaint and the documents filed along with it that need to be seen and the same was upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Asha Menon in the case of SAISONS TRADE AND INDUSTRY PRIVATE LIMITED vs. MAITHRI AQUATECH PRIVATE LIMITED& ORS. [CS(COMM) 214/2021] on 02.03.2022.

The facts of the case are that the present application has been filed on behalf of defendant under Order VII Rule 10 read with Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code 1908 (for short „CPC‟) for return of the plaint as well as the application of the plaintiff under Section 20(b) of the CPC seeking leave to file the suit in Delhi as the suit was filed in Delhi but neither the plaintiff nor the defendant was located in Delhi. The plaintiff had an office in Mumbai and the defendant was located in Hyderabad and therefore, under Section 20 CPC, leave of this court to file the suit here should not have been sought.

The plaintiff’s counsel submitted that the jurisdiction of the court had been invoked under Section 20(b) CPC. The defendant was carrying on business through an interactive official website, which could be accessed from anywhere in India, including Delhi. Further it was stated since the defendants have their registered offices in Delhi, and thus, Delhi could be deemed to be its principal place of business.

The defendant’s counsel stressed on the lack of jurisdiction. He urged that the plaint be returned for being filed in the court with jurisdiction, namely Hyderabad, where the defendant No.1 was located.

In view of the facts and circumstances, the Court held that the plaintiff is entitled to file the suit before this Court and the leave, as sought for, is to be granted as it is not only evident that the website can be accessed by the residents of Delhi and the products of defendant is delivered at Delhi, but also the advertisers/sellers of the products are actually located in Delhi carrying on business and working for gain here.

The Court observed, “When an objection to jurisdiction is raised by way of demurrer and not at the trial, the objection must proceed on the basis that the facts as pleaded by the initiator of the impugned proceedings are true. Objection of territorial jurisdiction has to be construed after taking all averments in the plaint to be correct. While considering a plaint from the standpoint of Order VII Rule 10 CPC, it is only the plaint and the documents filed along with it that need to be seen.”

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Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

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