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COMPETENT JURISDICTION

Make sure that the suit is filed in a court of competent jurisdiction;  assuming that one has identified the correct court with correct pecuniary and territorial jurisdiction, one must also worry about the parties to the action for example does the plaintiff have capacity to sue?  Capacity affects jurisdiction because it can stop a court from hearing a suit. A party may lack capacity if they are under age and the procedure prescribed under Order 32 is not followed then the suit will be struck out.  Order 32 is commencement of action by minors and people of unsound mind.  If the Plaintiff is an artificial personality and one wants to found an action on an ultra vires act i.e. where the company has acted outside its objects, then it lacks capacity to commence the suit.  The party to be named as plaintiff and their capacity must be taken into account before commencing any action.  For example if a company is under receivership based on a court order, one must seek leave of the court before commencing a suit against the company.

Apart from capacity there are provisions of Section 6 and 7 of the Act that one must take into consideration.  Section 6 is on Stay of suit.  The section is designed to prevent courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously adjudicating on a suit with the same parties and the same matter, the policy of law is to confine plaintiff to one litigation avoiding possibility of two conflicting judgments in respect of the same relief which would be an absurdity.  Provisions of Section 6 do not prevent the court from entertaining the filing of a suit.  It does not bar institution of a suit but only bars trial of suit of certain conditions are fulfilled.  When one is raising an objection under Section 6, the jurisdiction of the court is to stay and not to dismiss.  Reinstitution of the case is not barred, only proceedings.  One wants to stay the suit rather than dismissing it, if the suit is stayed the subsequent suit can be dismissed under Section 7.

Note that the matter in issue in the subsequent suit must be directly and substantially in issue in the previous suit, both suits must be between same parties or their representatives.  The previously instituted suit must be pending in the same court in which the subsequent suit is brought or in any other court having jurisdiction to hear and entertain the suit.  The court in which the previous suit is instituted must have jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed in the subsequent suit.  Both parties must be litigating under the same title in both suits.

A Decree which is passed in contravention of Section 6 of the Act can be enforced.  The provisions of section 6 are merely procedural and in fact can be waived by the parties to the action by urging the court to proceed with the subsequent suit and ignore the previous suit. None of the party can thereafter challenge the decree as the doctrine of estoppel would apply.
Res Judicata :  Section 7 bars the court from trying any suit and the doctrine embodies by this section is the doctrine of Res Judicata which means the conclusiveness of judgment.  This Section requires that once a matter has finally been decided by a competent court, nobody can be permitted to open it in subsequent litigation.  In the absence of this rule there would be no end to litigation.  One judgment is a suit is sufficient.

 
 
 

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