Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cause of Action

(To read the Judgment click on the heading)
M/s. Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd. Vs.Union of India and Anr.
Date of Judgment 28/04/2004
The only submission made on behalf of the appellant before the High Court as also before us is that as the constitutionality of a parliamentary act was in question, the High Court of Delhi had the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the writ petition.

On the other hand, the contention of the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent is that as no cause of action arose within the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court of Delhi, the writ petition has rightly not been entertained.

Cause of action implies a right to sue. The material facts which are imperative for the suitor to allege and prove constitutes the cause of action. Cause of action is not defined in any statute. It has, however, been judicially interpreted inter alia to mean that every fact which would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove, if traversed, in order to support his right to the judgment of the Court. Negatively put, it would mean that everything which, if not proved, gives the defendant an immediate right to judgment, would be part of cause of action. Its importance is beyond any doubt. For every action, there has to be a cause of action, if not, the plaint or the writ petition, as the case may be, shall be rejected summarily.

Section 20(c) of the Code of Civil Procedure reads as under:

"20 OTHER SUITS TO BE INSTITUTED WHERE DEFENDANT RESIDE OR CAUSE OF ACTION ARISES.
Subject to the limitation aforesaid, every suit shall be instituted in a court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction - (c) the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises."

Although in view of Section 141 of the Code of Civil Procedure the provisions thereof would not apply to a writ proceedings, the phraseology used in Section 20(c) of the Code of Civil Procedure and Clause (2) of Article 226, being in pari materia, the decisions of this Court rendered on interpretation of Section 20(c) of CPC shall apply to the writ proceedings also. Before proceeding to discuss the matter further it may be pointed out that the entire bundle of facts pleaded need not constitute a cause of action as what is necessary to be proved before the petitioner can obtain a decree is the material facts. The expression material facts is also known as integral facts.

Keeping in view the expressions used is Clause (2) of Article 226 of the Constitution of India, indisputably even if a small fraction of cause of action accrues within the jurisdiction of the Court, the Court will have jurisdiction in the matter.

"...The concept of cause of action cannot in our opinion be introduced in Art. 226, for by doing so we shall be doing away with the express provision contained therein which requires that the person or authority to whom the writ is to be issued should be resident in or located within the territories over which the High Court has jurisdiction. It is true that this may result in some inconvenience to person residing far away from New Delhi who are aggrieved by some order of the Government of India as such, and that may be a reason for making a suitable constitutional amendment in Art. 226. But the argument of inconvenience, in our opinion, cannot affect the plain language of Art. 226, nor can the concept of the place of cause of action be introduced into it for that would do away with the two limitations on the powers of the High Court contained in it."

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