Thursday, 12 May 2016

How to ascertain territorial jurisdiction of high court to entertain writ petition?

 The principle of forum conveniens also makes it obligatory on the part
of the Court to see the convenience of all the parties before it. Be it the
existence of a more appropriate forum, expenses, law relating to the lis,
convenience of the witnesses, verification and examination of the facts for
adjudication of the controversy and other similar and ancillary aspects. The
Court has further held that even in a scenario where a part cause of action
has arisen within one High Court's territorial jurisdiction, that High Court
can still refuse to exercise jurisdiction under Article 226 on account of other
considerations as defined under the concept of forum conveniens.
23. Admittedly, the Special Court, Mumbai is in seisin of the matter and
the prosecution as well as the evidence is available there. Further, this Court
takes note of the fact that the petitioner had himself submitted to Bombay
High Court’s jurisdiction and had earlier filed the bail application being W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 
Criminal Bail Application 71/2013 before it in the proceedings under the
PMLA Act, 2000 of which the petitioner is now seeking quashing. In our
opinion, it would be appropriate that only such High Court, within whose
jurisdiction the subordinate Court is located before whom the trial
proceedings are pending and whose quashing is sought, should entertain writ
petitions under Article 226. Consequently, the Bombay High Court is better
equipped to deal with the present case.
24. It is pertinent to mention that in the entire petition there is not even a
whisper as to what cause of action in favour of the petitioner had accrued
within the jurisdiction of this Court and why this Court should exercise
jurisdiction. The petitioner, for reasons best known to himself, has even
omitted the mandatory jurisdiction clause in the present petition.
25. Consequently, since no significant/material/substantial part of cause
of action has arisen in Delhi as well as keeping in view the principle of
forum conveniens, this Court refuses to entertain the present petition.
Accordingly, the present petition is dismissed with liberty to the petitioner to
file proceedings in an appropriate court having territorial jurisdiction.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013
SAYED MOHD. MASOOD ..... Petitioner

versus
UNION OF INDIA & ANR. 
 Date of Decision: 11th November, 2013
CORAM:
HON'BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE MANMOHAN



Crl.M.A. No.14336/2013 (exemption) in W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013
Allowed, subject to just exceptions.
W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 & Crl.M.A. No.14335/2013
1. Present writ petition has been filed by the petitioner seeking the
following reliefs:-W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 2 of 17
"(i) Issue a writ of certiorari and/or any other writ, order or
direction of similar nature declaring and quashing the
provisions of Section 2(u), 3, 4, 5, 8, 24 & 45 of the PMLA as
being ultra vires the Constitution.
(ii) Issue a writ of certiorari and/or any other writ, order or
direction quashing the entire proceedings, prosecutions and
adjudications under ECIR/65/MZO/2009 initiated against the
Petitioner under PMLA Act and further quash all actions and
prosecution initiated against the Petitioner emanating from
dishonour of cheque cases;
(iii) Pass any other or further order which this Hon'ble Court
may deem fit and proper in the interest of justice."
 (emphasis supplied)
2. At the outset, respondent No.1-UOI had raised a preliminary
objection with respect to the jurisdiction of this Court to entertain the
present petition on the ground that no cause of action had accrued within the
territorial jurisdiction of this Court.
3. For this reason, we have confined ourselves to only those facts which
are relevant for deciding the question of territorial jurisdiction, eschewing
other facts and details.
4. The relevant facts as can be culled out from the present petition and
the documents annexed are that petitioner was the Chairman and Director of
M/s. City Limouzines (India) Ltd. and also of at least ten other City Group
of companies. In 2002, M/s. City Limouzines (India) Ltd. launched an
investment scheme by the name of 'Go-Vehicle on rental basis and earning
by sitting at home' whereby investments were invited from general public
assuring high returns. Similar schemes were also floated by the other W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 3 of 17
companies belonging to the City Group.
5. An Enforcement Case Information Report (for short 'ECIR')
No.65/MZO/2009 dated 30th October, 2009 was registered by the
Enforcement Directorate, Mumbai Zonal Office, based on preliminary
investigation carried out in three FIRs being, FIR No.201/2009 dated 27th
September, 2009 by Cuffe Parade Police Station, Mumbai, FIR No.347/2009
dated 26th September, 2009 by Amboli Police Station, Mumbai and FIR
No.401/2009 dated 08th October, 2009 by Vakola Police Station, Mumbai.
All these FIRs had been registered under Sections 420 and 120B of Indian
Penal Code, 1860 (for short 'IPC') against M/s. City Limouzines (India) Ltd.
and its Directors including the petitioner for cheating investors who had
subscribed to various schemes floated by it.
6. On 11th February, 2013, the prosecution filed a complaint, being
Special Case No.01 of 2013 under Section 3 read with Section 4 of the
Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (hereinafter referred to as
'PMLA, 2002') before the Court of Principal Judge, City Civil and Sessions
Court for Greater Bombay at Mumbai, Designated Court for the PMLA,
2002 (hereinafter referred to as 'Special Court, Mumbai'). The prosecution
in the above-mentioned complaint had amongst others alleged that the
companies floated by the petitioner had collected monies from
approximately 25,000 investors and had cheated them to the tune of Rs.500
crores and had further illegally transferred monies abroad.
7. Mr. V.P. Singh, learned senior counsel for the petitioner submitted
that this Court had jurisdiction to entertain the present petition for the reason
that substantial cause of action had arisen in Delhi. He pointed out that vide
summons dated 14th December, 2012, the petitioner was asked to appear in W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 4 of 17
person in the office of Directorate of Enforcement, Delhi Zonal Office, 10-
A, Jam Nagar House, Akbar Road, New Delhi. He further drew attention of
this Court to the fact that even the arrest order had been issued from the
same Delhi office pursuant to which the petitioner was actually arrested in
Delhi.
8. Mr. Singh also submitted that in a case pending against the petitioner
under COFEPOSA, a detention order issued in Delhi on 15th January, 2010
was challenged before this Court in W.P.(Crl.) No.1755/2010. He submitted
that this Court not only entertained the aforesaid petition, but in fact, by
order dated 03rd March, 2011 set aside the detention order.
9. Mr. Singh submitted that the above mentioned facts were sufficient to
establish that a substantial cause of action had arisen in Delhi, which would
entitle the petitioner to file the present petition in this Court. In support of
his submission, Mr. Singh, learned senior counsel relied upon
Navinchandra N. Majithia vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors. (2000) 7 SCC
640; Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd. vs. Union of India & Anr. (2004) 6 SCC
254 and Sterling Agro Industries Ltd. vs. Union of India & Ors. 181 (2011)
DLT 658 (LB). The relevant portion of Navinchandra N. Majithia (supra)
is reproduced hereinbelow:-
"43. We make it clear that the mere fact that FIR was registered
in a particular State is not the sole criterion to decide that no
cause of action has arisen even partly within the territorial limits
of jurisdiction of another State. Nor are we to be understood that
any person can create a fake cause of action or even concoct one
by simply jutting into the territorial limits of another State or by
making a sojourn or even a permanent residence therein. The
place of residence of the person moving a High Court is not the
criterion to determine the contours of the cause of action in that W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 5 of 17
particular writ petition. The High Court before which the writ
petition is filed must ascertain whether any part of the cause of
action has arisen within the territorial limits of its jurisdiction. It
depends upon the facts in each case.
xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx
45. In the aforesaid situation it is almost impossible to hold that
not even a part of the cause of action has arisen at Bombay so as
to deprive the High Court of Bombay of total jurisdiction to
entertain the writ petition filed by the petitioner. Even the very
fact that a major portion of the investigation of the case under
the FIR has to be conducted at Bombay itself, shows that the
cause of action cannot escape from the territorial limits of the
Bombay High Court."
10. Mr. Rajeeve Mehra, learned ASG for respondent No.1-Union of India
submitted that this Court did not have jurisdiction as in the present case
proceedings under the PMLA, 2002 of which the petitioner is seeking
quashing, the entire cause of action had arisen in Mumbai. He pointed out
that ECIR was registered in Mumbai by the Mumbai Zonal Office and also
the complaint under PMLA, 2002 had been filed before Special Court,
Mumbai. He submitted that in view of the above said facts the present
petition deserved to be dismissed at the outset as the same was not
maintainable due to lack of territorial jurisdiction.
11. Mr. Mehra further submitted that the proceedings under COFEPOSA
and PMLA, 2002 were distinct. He submitted that the writ petition filed by
petitioner challenging the detention order under COFEPOSA was
entertained by this Court as the detaining authority under COFEPOSA was
in Delhi and the detention order had also been passed in Delhi. W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 6 of 17
12. In support of his submission, Mr. Mehra relied upon Mosaraf
Hossain Khan vs. Bhagheeratha Engg. Ltd. and Others, (2006) 3 SCC 658
and Sterling Agro Industries Ltd. (supra).
13. Having perused the paper book and heard the learned counsel for
parties, this Court is of the view that it would be appropriate to first examine
the law in respect of territorial jurisdiction of the High Courts under Article
226 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court in Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd.
(supra) has held as under:-
"Background facts
2. The appellant is a company registered under the Indian
Companies Act. Its registered office is at Mumbai. It obtained a
loan from the Bhopal Branch of State Bank of India. Respondent 2
issued a notice for repayment of the said loan from Bhopal
purported to be in terms of the provisions of the Securitisation and
Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security
Interest Act, 2002.
3. Questioning the vires of the said Act, the said writ petition was
filed before the Delhi High Court by the appellant herein which
was dismissed on the ground of lack of territorial jurisdiction.
Submissions
4. 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.
xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx
18. The facts pleaded in the writ petition must have a nexus on the
basis whereof a prayer can be granted. Those facts which have
nothing to do with the prayer made therein cannot be said to give
rise to a cause of action which would confer jurisdiction on the
Court.W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 7 of 17
19. Passing of a legislation by itself in our opinion does not confer
any such right to file a writ petition unless a cause of action arises
therefor.
20. A distinction between a legislation and executive action should
be borne in mind while determining the said question.
21. A parliamentary legislation when it receives the assent of the
President of India and is published in the Official Gazette, unless
specifically excluded, will apply to the entire territory of India. If
passing of a legislation gives rise to a cause of action, a writ
petition questioning the constitutionality thereof can be filed in any
High Court of the country. It is not so done because a cause of
action will arise only when the provisions of the Act or some of
them which were implemented shall give rise to civil or evil
consequences to the petitioner. A writ court, it is well settled,
would not determine a constitutional question in a vacuum.
22. The Court must have the requisite territorial jurisdiction. An
order passed on a writ petition questioning the constitutionality of
a parliamentary Act, whether interim or final keeping in view the
provisions contained in clause (2) of Article 226 of the Constitution
of India, will have effect throughout the territory of India subject of
course to the applicability of the Act.
Situs of office of the respondents — whether relevant
23. A writ petition, however, questioning the constitutionality of a
parliamentary Act shall not be maintainable in the High Court of
Delhi only because the seat of the Union of India is in Delhi. (See
Abdul Kafi Khan v. Union of India [AIR 1979 Cal 354] .)
xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx
26. The view taken by this Court in U.P. Rashtriya Chini Mill
Adhikari Parishad [(1995) 4 SCC 738] that the situs of issue of an
order or notification by the Government would come within the
meaning of the expression “cases arising” in clause 14 of the
(Amalgamation) Order is not a correct view of law for the reason
hereafter stated and to that extent the said decision is overruled. In
fact, a legislation, it is trite, is not confined to a statute enacted by W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 8 of 17
Parliament or the legislature of a State, which would include
delegated legislation and subordinate legislation or an executive
order made by the Union of India, State or any other statutory
authority. In a case where the field is not covered by any statutory
rule, executive instructions issued in this behalf shall also come
within the purview thereof. Situs of office of Parliament, legislature
of a State or authorities empowered to make subordinate
legislation would not by itself constitute any cause of action or
cases arising. In other words, framing of a statute, statutory rule or
issue of an executive order or instruction would not confer
jurisdiction upon a court only because of the situs of the office of
the maker thereof.
27. When an order, however, is passed by a court or tribunal or an
executive authority whether under provisions of a statute or
otherwise, a part of cause of action arises at that place. Even in a
given case, when the original authority is constituted at one place
and the appellate authority is constituted at another, a writ petition
would be maintainable at both the places. In other words, as order
of the appellate authority constitutes a part of cause of action, a
writ petition would be maintainable in the High Court within
whose jurisdiction it is situate having regard to the fact that the
order of the appellate authority is also required to be set aside and
as the order of the original authority merges with that of the
appellate authority.
xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx
Forum conveniens
30. We must, however, remind ourselves that even if a small part of
cause of action arises within the territorial jurisdiction of the High
Court, the same by itself may not be considered to be a
determinative factor compelling the High Court to decide the
matter on merit. In appropriate cases, the Court may refuse to
exercise its discretionary jurisdiction by invoking the doctrine of
forum conveniens. [See Bhagat Singh Bugga v. Dewan Jagbir
Sawhney [AIR 1941 Cal 670 : ILR (1941) 1 Cal 490] , Madanlal
Jalan v. Madanlal [(1945) 49 CWN 357 : AIR 1949 Cal 495] ,
Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. v. Jharia Talkies & Cold Storage (P) Ltd.
[1997 CWN 122] , S.S. Jain & Co. v. Union of India [(1994) 1 W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 9 of 17
CHN 445] and New Horizons Ltd. v. Union of India [AIR 1994 Del
126] .]"
(emphasis supplied)
14. In fact, the Supreme Court in Mosaraf Hossain Khan (supra) after
referring to Navinchandra N. Majihia (supra) has held as under :-
"16. In Navinchandra N. Majithia [(2000) 7 SCC 640 : 2001
SCC (Cri) 215] a contract was entered into by and between a
company, Indian Farmers Pvt. Ltd. (IFPL) and Chinar Export
Ltd. (CEL). The appellant therein was the Managing Director of
IFPL Company. CEL entered into an agreement with IFPL for
purchase of the entire shares of IFPL for which it paid earnest
money. It, however, failed to fulfil its commitment to pay the
balance purchase price within the specified time. IFPL
terminated the agreement. A suit was filed by CEL in the High
Court of Bombay for specific performance of the said agreement.
Two shareholders of CEL took over the management and control
of the Company as Directors and they formed another company
named J.B. Holdings Ltd. (“JBHL”) at Shillong in the State of
Meghalaya. Later the said suit was withdrawn upon the
appellant returning the amount paid by CEL which was earlier
forfeited by the appellant. Pursuant to the said agreement JBHL
made payments for the purchase of shares of IFPL. But the
appellant therein contended that as JBHL committed default in
making the balance payment and thereby committed breach of
the agreement, the said agreement stood terminated and the
earnest money stood forfeited as stipulated in the agreement. In
the aforementioned situation a complaint was filed by JBHL
against the appellant at Shillong. The maintainability of the said
complaint came to be questioned by Majithia by filing a writ
petition before the Bombay High Court which was dismissed.
Writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution was
invoked on the ground that the entire transaction on which the
complaint was based had taken place at Mumbai and not at any
other place outside the said town, much less at Shillong. It was
further contended that the jurisdiction to investigate into the
contents of the complaint was only with the police/courts in W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 10 of 17
Mumbai. The prayers made in the said writ petition were: (SCC
p. 644, para 3)
“3. (a) to quash the complaint lodged by JBHL or in the
alternative to issue a writ of mandamus directing the State
of Meghalaya to transfer the investigation being conducted
by the officers of CID at Shillong to the Economic Offences
Wing, General Branch of CID, Mumbai or any other
investigating agency of the Mumbai Police, and
(b) to issue a writ of prohibition or any other order or
direction restraining the Special SP Police, CID, Shillong
and/or any investigating agency of the Meghalaya Police
from taking any further step in respect of the complaint
lodged by JBHL with the police authorities at Shillong.”
17. The said writ petition, as indicated hereinbefore, was
dismissed by the Bombay High Court. This Court reversed the
said order opining that the entire cause of action arose within the
jurisdiction of the High Court of Bombay. Upon noticing some
earlier decisions of this Court, it was observed: (SCC pp. 650-51,
para 27)
“27. Tested in the light of the principles laid down in the
cases noted above the judgment of the High Court under
challenge is unsustainable. The High Court failed to
consider all the relevant facts necessary to arrive at a
proper decision on the question of maintainability of the
writ petition, on the ground of lack of territorial
jurisdiction. The Court based its decision on the sole
consideration that the complainant had filed the complaint
at Shillong in the State of Meghalaya and the petitioner had
prayed for quashing the said complaint. The High Court did
not also consider the alternative prayer made in the writ
petition that a writ of mandamus be issued to the State of
Meghalaya to transfer the investigation to Mumbai Police.
The High Court also did not take note of the averments in
the writ petition that filing of the complaint at Shillong was
a mala fide move on the part of the complainant to harass
and pressurise the petitioners to reverse the transaction for
transfer of shares. The relief sought in the writ petition may W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 11 of 17
be one of the relevant criteria for consideration of the
question but cannot be the sole consideration in the matter.
On the averments made in the writ petition gist of which has
been noted earlier it cannot be said that no part of the cause
of action for filing the writ petition arose within the
territorial jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court.”
xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx
26. In Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd. v. Union of India [(2004) 6
SCC 254] a three-Judge Bench of this Court clearly held that
with a view to determine the jurisdiction of one High Court vis-á-
vis the other the facts pleaded in the writ petition must have a
nexus on the basis whereof a prayer can be made and the facts
which have nothing to do therewith cannot give rise to a cause of
action to invoke the jurisdiction of a court. In that case it was
clearly held that only because the High Court within whose
jurisdiction a legislation is passed, it would not have the sole
territorial jurisdiction but all the High Courts where cause of
action arises, will have jurisdiction..............
xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx
28. We have referred to the scope of jurisdiction under Articles
226 and 227 of the Constitution only to highlight that the High
Courts should not ordinarily interfere with an order taking
cognizance passed by a competent court of law except in a
proper case. Furthermore only such High Court within whose
jurisdiction the order of the subordinate court has been passed,
would have the jurisdiction to entertain an application under
Article 227 of the Constitution unless it is established that the
earlier cause of action arose within the jurisdiction thereof.
(emphasis supplied)
15. A Five Judges Bench of this Court in Sterling Agro Industries Ltd.
(supra) after considering a number of judgments including Ambica
Industries Vs. Commissioner of Central Excise, (2007) 6 SCC 769 has held
as under:-W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 12 of 17
"31. The concept of forum conveniens fundamentally means that it is
obligatory on the part of the court to see the convenience of all the
parties before it. The convenience in its ambit and sweep would
include the existence of more appropriate forum, expenses involved,
the law relating to the lis, verification of certain facts which are
necessitous for just adjudication of the controversy and such other
ancillary aspects. The balance of convenience is also to be taken note
of. Be it noted, the Apex Court has clearly stated in the cases of
Kusum Ingots (supra), Mosaraf Hossain Khan (supra) and Ambica
Industries (supra) about the applicability of the doctrine of forum
conveniens while opining that arising of a part of cause of action
would entitle the High Court to entertain the writ petition as
maintainable.
32. The principle of forum conveniens in its ambit and sweep
encapsulates the concept that a cause of action arising within the
jurisdiction of the Court would not itself constitute to be the
determining factor compelling the Court to entertain the matter.
While exercising jurisdiction under Articles 226 and 227 of the
Constitution of India, the Court cannot be totally oblivious of the
concept of forum conveniens. The Full Bench in New India Assurance
Co. Ltd. (supra) has not kept in view the concept of forum conveniens
and has expressed the view that if the appellate authority who has
passed the order is situated in Delhi, then the Delhi High Court
should be treated as the forum conveniens. We are unable to
subscribe to the said view.
33. In view of the aforesaid analysis, we are inclined to modify the
findings and conclusions of the Full Bench in New India Assurance
Company Limited (supra) and proceed to state our conclusions in
seriatim as follows
(a) The finding recorded by the Full Bench that the sole cause
of action emerges at the place or location where the
tribunal/appellate authority/revisional authority is situate and the
said High Court (i.e., Delhi High Court) cannot decline to entertain
the writ petition as that would amount to failure of the duty of the
Court cannot be accepted inasmuch as such a finding is totally based
on the situs of the tribunal/appellate authority/revisional authority
totally ignoring the concept of forum conveniens. W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 13 of 17
(b) Even if a miniscule part of cause of action arises within the
jurisdiction of this court, a writ petition would be maintainable
before this Court, however, the cause of action has to be understood
as per the ratio laid down in the case of Alchemist Ltd. (supra).
(c) An order of the appellate authority constitutes a part of
cause of action to make the writ petition maintainable in the High
Court within whose jurisdiction the appellate authority is situated.
Yet, the same may not be the singular factor to compel the High
Court to decide the matter on merits. The High Court may refuse to
exercise its discretionary jurisdiction by invoking the doctrine of
forum conveniens.
(d) The conclusion that where the appellate or revisional authority is
located constitutes the place of forum conveniens as stated in
absolute terms by the Full Bench is not correct as it will vary from
case to case and depend upon the lis in question.
(e) The finding that the court may refuse to exercise
jurisdiction under Article 226 if only the jurisdiction is invoked in a
malafide manner is too restricted / constricted as the exercise of
power under Article 226 being discretionary cannot be limited or
restricted to the ground of malafide alone.
(f) While entertaining a writ petition, the doctrine of forum
conveniens and the nature of cause of action are required to be
scrutinized by the High Court depending upon the factual matrix of
each case in view of what has been stated in Ambica Industries
(supra) and Adani Exports Ltd. (supra).
(g) The conclusion of the earlier decision of the Full Bench in
New India Assurance Company Limited (supra) “that since the
original order merges into the appellate order, the place where the
appellate authority is located is also forum conveniens” is not
correct.
(h) Any decision of this Court contrary to the conclusions
enumerated hereinabove stands overruled."
(emphasis supplied)W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 14 of 17
16. From the aforesaid, it is apparent that the concept of forum conveniens
has been recognised by the Courts and cause of action for determining
territorial jurisdiction has been held to be a bundle of facts which the
petitioner must prove to entitle him to a judgment in his favour.
17. Now, let us examine the facts of the case in the context of the
aforesaid law. In the present case, the petitioner had incorporated the
companies in question in Mumbai; FIRs had been registered in Mumbai;
investigations had been carried out in Mumbai; the initial information report
under PMLA, 2002 being ECIR/65/MZO/2009 dated 30th October, 2009
was registered in Mumbai, pursuant to which the complaint, being PMLA
Special Case No.01/2013, had been filed before Special Court, Mumbai,
which is still pending adjudication in Mumbai. Consequently, it is not
difficult for this Court to arrive at the conclusion that if not in whole, but at
least the material and substantial cause of action had arisen in Mumbai.
18. Mr. V.P. Singh, learned senior counsel for petitioner’s submission
that since arrest order was issued in Delhi and subsequently, the petitioner
was also arrested in Delhi constitutes a cause of action is misplaced. Going
by the petitioner’s logic, in all criminal cases, where an accused is arrested
in a State different from where FIR is lodged, two High Courts would have
jurisdictions under Article 226 of the Constitution, namely, one under whose
territorial jurisdiction the FIR had been registered and the other where the
accused had been arrested. But in law, two High Courts cannot
simultaneously exercise jurisdiction. In our view the mere fact that the
summons dated 14th December, 2012 whereby the petitioner was asked to
appear in person in the office of Directorate of Enforcement, Delhi Zonal
Office and the arrest order was issued from the Delhi Zonal Office are not W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 15 of 17
facts which by themselves would confer territorial jurisdiction on this Court.
A perusal of both the summons and the arrest order reveal that they were
issued by Mr. D. Shanmugam, Assistant Director, Directorate of
Enforcement, Mumbai, Camp at Delhi Zonal Office at 10-A, Jam Nagar
House, Akbar Road, New Delhi-110011. This Court is of the opinion that
this would imply that Mr. D. Shanmugam, at the relevant time, had only
camped at the Delhi Zonal Office for the sake of convenience and it cannot
be inferred that the Delhi Zonal Office was directly related to the affairs of
the case against the petitioner under PMLA, 2002. Further, the present
petitioner was arrested in Delhi because he was available in Delhi. In the
present case, the prosecution presented the petitioner before the concerned
Duty Magistrate on the same day, i.e., 14th December, 2012 itself and
obtained transit remand. The very next day he was produced before the
Mumbai Court. At no point of time, the present petitioner was detained in
Delhi, more than what was logistically required. Consequently, this Court is
of the opinion that the material and substantial part of cause of action had
arisen within the jurisdiction of the Mumbai High Court alone.
19. “Cause of action”, for the purpose of Article 226(2) of the
Constitution of India, for all intent and purport, must be assigned the same
meaning as envisaged under Section 20(c) of the Code of Civil Procedure. It
means a bundle of facts which are required to be proved. The entire bundle
of facts pleaded, however, need not constitute a cause of action as what is
necessary to be proved is material facts whereupon a writ petition can be
allowed. [See Eastern Coalfields Ltd. and Others Vs. Kalyan Banerjee,
(2008) 3 SCC 456]. Consequently, in our opinion, the facts relied upon by
Mr. V.P. Singh, learned senior counsel have no relevance to the main issue W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 16 of 17
of quashing of certain provisions of PMLA, 2002 and the complaint filed by
respondent before Special Court, Mumbai.
20. This Court is in agreement with Mr. Mehra, learned ASG that
proceedings under COFEPOSA and PMLA, 2002 are two independent and
separate proceedings, emanating from two different statutes. In the opinion
of this Court, jurisdiction cannot be conferred on this Court by drawing an
analogy between proceedings under PMLA, 2002 with those under
COFEPOSA.
21. This Court is also of the view that, the fact, that it had entertained a
writ petition in proceedings under COFEPOSA pending against the
petitioner would not mean that it would have to entertain all
matters/petitions emanating from one or all cases pending against petitioner
in different courts all over India.
22. The principle of forum conveniens also makes it obligatory on the part
of the Court to see the convenience of all the parties before it. Be it the
existence of a more appropriate forum, expenses, law relating to the lis,
convenience of the witnesses, verification and examination of the facts for
adjudication of the controversy and other similar and ancillary aspects. The
Court has further held that even in a scenario where a part cause of action
has arisen within one High Court's territorial jurisdiction, that High Court
can still refuse to exercise jurisdiction under Article 226 on account of other
considerations as defined under the concept of forum conveniens.
23. Admittedly, the Special Court, Mumbai is in seisin of the matter and
the prosecution as well as the evidence is available there. Further, this Court
takes note of the fact that the petitioner had himself submitted to Bombay
High Court’s jurisdiction and had earlier filed the bail application being W.P.(CRL.) 1546/2013 Page 17 of 17
Criminal Bail Application 71/2013 before it in the proceedings under the
PMLA Act, 2000 of which the petitioner is now seeking quashing. In our
opinion, it would be appropriate that only such High Court, within whose
jurisdiction the subordinate Court is located before whom the trial
proceedings are pending and whose quashing is sought, should entertain writ
petitions under Article 226. Consequently, the Bombay High Court is better
equipped to deal with the present case.
24. It is pertinent to mention that in the entire petition there is not even a
whisper as to what cause of action in favour of the petitioner had accrued
within the jurisdiction of this Court and why this Court should exercise
jurisdiction. The petitioner, for reasons best known to himself, has even
omitted the mandatory jurisdiction clause in the present petition.
25. Consequently, since no significant/material/substantial part of cause
of action has arisen in Delhi as well as keeping in view the principle of
forum conveniens, this Court refuses to entertain the present petition.
Accordingly, the present petition is dismissed with liberty to the petitioner to
file proceedings in an appropriate court having territorial jurisdiction.
MANMOHAN, J
CHIEF JUSTICE
NOVEMBER 11, 2013
js/rn
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