Jurisdiction of civil courts can be divided on two basis.
Territorial / Areawise Classification
Pecuniary jurisdiction of the court divides the court on a vertical basis.
- Suits amounting to Rs.1 - Rs.20, 00,000 lie before district courts.
- Suits over and above Rs. 20,00,000/- lie before High Courts.
- It is very important to note that the amount of pecuniary jurisdiction is different for all High Courts. This limit is decided by respective High Court Rules.
- In many states High court has no pecuniary jurisdiction. All civil suits go before District Courts, and only appeal lies before High Court.
Territorial Jurisdiction divides the courts on a horizontal basis.
For example in Delhi, there are three District level courts, viz. Patiala House, Tis Hazari and Karakardooma. All these courts have nearly same powers. However, being on a same horizontal line, these courts are divided territory wise, i.e. area wise. Again for example, cases pertaining to South Delhi, New Delhi and West Delhi will lie before Patiala House, and North Delhi cases will lie before Tis Hazari, and cases pertaining to East Delhi will lie before Karakardooma.
Similarly High Court of two different states, say Delhi, and Punjab may have similar powers in their respective states, but are divided on the basis of area. Cases pertaining to Delhi will lie before Delhi High court and cases pertaining to Punjab will lie before Punjab High Court.
How Is Territory Decided?
Territory of a court is decided after taking into account several factors. They are:
- In Case Of Immovable Property: If the suit is with regard to recovery, rent, partition, sale, redemption, determination of right of immovable property, it shall be instituted in the court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the property is situated.
- Immovable Property Situated Within The Jurisdiction Of Different Courts: In such a case the suit may be instituted in any court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction any portion of the property is situated.
- In Case Of Dispute Between Two Or More Persons With Respect To Movable Property, Business Or Any Other Wrong Done: Where a wrong has been caused to a person, or any damage has been caused to a movable property, then the suit may be instituted either,
- In the place, where wrong or damage has been caused, or
- In the place, where defendant (the person who caused the loss) resides.
Where there is a dispute in business, agreement or any other kind of civil dispute, except matrimonial matter, then the suit may be instituted either,
- In a place, where the defendant resides, or carries on business, or
- In a place, where the cause of action has arisen, i.e. where the dispute or wrong took place