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Pecuniary Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction in this type is being decided by the monetary values of the Plaint. The general procedural rule said that every suit shall be instituted in the lowest competent court first (Section 15). The reason for this rule is not to overburden the higher grades and to provide convenience for the parties and the witnesses in a suit.

Territorial Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction in this type is being decided by the fact that the matter comes under the local limit of the court. For this type of jurisdiction, suits are differentiated into 4 classes –

  • Suits for Immovable Property (Section 16-18);
  • Suits for Moveable Property (Section 19);
  • Suits for Torts and
  • Other Suits (Section 20).

Jurisdiction as to the subject matter: Different type of courts has been given the power to decide different kinds of cases. Some courts can’t undertake some kind of suit. If a court doesn’t have jurisdiction upon the subject- a matter of the suit and if it has given and decree, order, or judgement in that condition that decree, order, or judgement will be null and void.


The object of the Section: The court in the matters like ONGC v. Utpal Kumar Basu[1], Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund v. Kartick Das[2], Bloom Dekor Ltd. v. Subhas Himatlal Desai[3] , etc. courts have stated that the reason behind having this section is to guard the true litigants and also to prevent them from any kind of harassment. It is a legal provision to protect the litigants who have initiated the proceedings with good faith and have bona fide reasons to do so.

The objection as to territorial jurisdiction: In the case of Hira Lal Patni V. Kali Nath[4] and Kiran Singh v. Chaman Prasad,[5] it is being held that objection as to territorial and pecuniary jurisdiction doesn’t stand on the equal footing as an objection to the jurisdiction of the subject matter of the court. Objection to the jurisdiction of the subject matter of the court is given more emphasis upon others. It is also held that objection as to territorial and pecuniary jurisdiction provided by code is merely technical grounds and any challenge upon these two jurisdictions will not stand in appeal or revision for the first time provided, they were raised at the earliest possible opportunity.

In the Hira Lal case, Bombay High Court under Section 21(1) gives 3 conditions needed to be satisfied to raise any objection as to the place of suing i.e.:

  • The objection was taken in the court of the first instance.
  • It was taken at the earliest possible opportunity and in the case where issues are settled at or before the settlement of issues and
  • There has been a consequent failure of Justice.

(All these three conditions must coexist[6])

The power of a court and try a matter is at the heart of its capacity, and when it is missing, there will be a core loss of jurisdiction. Whereas a challenge to a court’s local jurisdiction can be waived, and Section 21 is a formal acknowledgment of the idea, allowing the deficiency in the place of suing under Sections 15 to 20 to be waived. It will also amount to a waiver of an objection if any defendant doesn’t raise any objection knowingly that the court doesn’t have territorial jurisdiction over it and allows the trial court to decide the matter. In such a case he will not be allowed to raise any objection[7]. In the recent case of Om Prakash v. Vishan Dayal[8] of 2019, the Supreme Court gives a similar view as in Hira Lal Patni v. Kali Nath and Kiran Singh V. Chaman Prasad’s judgement.

The objection as to pecuniary jurisdiction: The pecuniary jurisdiction comes into play after the valuation of the plant being done by Plaintiff. It is the valuation of the plaint by the plaintiff that determines the jurisdiction of the court and not the sum in the final decree or judgement by the court. In case if the defendant is not satisfied with the valuation of the plaint by the plaintiff, then it will be the duty of the trial court to examine the matter and give the appropriate valuation. Any appeal or revision will not be entertained by appellate or revision Court unless-

  1. The objection was taken in the court of the first instance.
  2. The objections shall be taken at the earliest possible opportunity
  3. There has been a failure of justice.

(All these three conditions must coexist)

The objection as to the subject- matter of jurisdiction: As a rule, a court cannot adjudicate upon the case that doesn’t come under its subject matters specified by law. A court’s jurisdiction over the subject matter of a suit is regarded as essential, because jurisdiction is a condition precedent or sine qua non to the acquisition of authority over the parties and the matter, and if the court lacks jurisdiction, a judgement, order, or decree issued is null and void and may be overturned on appeal, review, or revision. Even in collateral processes, its legality might be questioned[9].

The objection in execution proceedings:

Position before the Amendment Act, 1976: Execution proceedings were not covered by Section 21 of the Code when it was first made. Consequently, there has been some debate about whether the Section 21 concept would also apply to execution procedures or not.  To this question, The Supreme Court replied in Hira Lal Patni v. Kali Nath stating that Section 21 also applied to execution procedures without a question.

Position after the Amendment Act, 1976: To prevent delays in execution proceedings, the Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1976, added an express provision to the Code, stating that an objection to the territorial jurisdiction of a court enforcing the decree shall not be accepted unless the conditions set out in it are met.


It is already been cleared from the above-mentioned points that no objection as to the jurisdiction be taken unless it is necessary or there has been a subsequent failure of Justice. In that case, another question that popup is whether the decision can be challenged by filing a new suit or not. There has been a difference of opinion upon this point and to tackle this point section 21-A was included that says no subsequent suit can be filed in a court to challenge or set aside the already decided judgement or decree given by a court as an objection to the place of suing.


Place of suing and objection to the jurisdiction is one of the very important provisions given under the civil procedure code. It assists in determining the jurisdiction of the courts and helps the parties to file suits and also to protects their rights if the suit is not brought before suitable jurisdiction of the court. Like this the amendment of section 21 that inserted bar of suits is also a very important provision however there are some loopholes, defect and ambiguity lie in it that makes it incomplete or hard to interpret because it doesn’t talk about pecuniary jurisdiction and only deals with a place of suing (territorial limits) ambiguous because it is submitted that the principle applicable to territorial defect will pro tanto apply to pecuniary defects as well. I don’t find any big issues or defects in these sections but still, if possible, I would like to suggest that as far as section 21A is concerned it will be a great help in meeting the objectives of this section mentioned above if the courts can make it clear upon what kind of jurisdictions this amendment can be enforced.

Author(s) Name: Tushar Patidar (Symbiosis International University, Pune)


[1] ONGC v. Utpal Kumar Basu, 1994 4 SCC 711.

[2] Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund V. Kartick Das, 1994 4 SCC 225.

[3] Bloom Dekor Ltd. V. Subhas Himatlal Desai, 1994 6 SCC 322.

[4] Hira Lal Patni vs. Kali Nath, AIR 1962 SC 199.

[5] Kiran Singh vs. Chaman Prasad, AIR 1954 SC 340.

[6] Pathumma v. Kuntalan Kutty, 1981 3 SCC 589.

[7] Bahrein Petroleum Co. Ltd v. P.J. Pappu, AIR 1966 SC 634.

[8] Om Prakash V. Vishan Dayal, 2019 14 SCC 526.

[9] Hriday Nath v. Ram Chandra, AIR 1921 Cal 34

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