Monday, 26 April 2021

Whether cause of action to file a suit accrues at a place where the consequence of wrongful act has occurred?

  In the backdrop of the aforesaid averments the learned Civil Judge was of the view that the suit was also for compensation for wrong to the person of the plaintiffs and, thus, the plaintiffs had the option to choose the Court in which the suit could be instituted under Section 19 of the Code. Sections 19 and 20 of the Code read as under:

"Section 19. Suits for compensation for wrongs to person or movables.
Where a suit is for compensation for wrong done to the person or to movable property, if the wrong was done within  the local limits of the jurisdiction of one Court and the defendant resides, or carries on business, or personally works for gain, within the local limits of the jurisdiction of another Court, the suit may be instituted at the option of the plaintiff in either of the said Courts.
Section 20. Other suits to be instituted where defendants reside or cause of action arises.
Subject to the limitations aforesaid, every suit shall be instituted in a Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction
(a) the defendant, or each of the defendants where there are more than one, at the time of the commencement of the suit, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business, or personally works for gain; or
(b) any of the defendants, where there are more than one, at the time of the commencement of the suit, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business, or personally works for gain, provided that in such case either the leave of the Court is given, or the defendants who do not reside, or carry on business, or personally works for gain, as aforesaid, acquiesce in such institution; or
(c) The cause of action, wholly or in part, arises."{Para 13}

14. On a plain reading, it becomes evident that Section 19 specifcally deals with a suit for compensation for wrong done to the person or to movable property. The later part of Section 19 indicates that, in a given case, where the wrong was done within the local limits of jurisdiction of one Court and the defendants reside or carry on business or personally work for gain, within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the another Court, the suit may be instituted at the option of the plaintiff in either of the said Courts. For the applicability of the later part of Section 19, two conditions must co-exist. One, the wrong to the person or movable property must have been done within the local limits of the jurisdiction of one Court. Two, the defendant, who is alleged to have caused such wrong, must reside or carry on business etc. within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the another Court. If these twin conditions are satisfed the plaintiff has the option to sue the defendant in the Court at either of those places.

15. The second condition of the residence or presence of the defendant is, in a sense, objective and does not present much diffculty. The phase "if the wrong was done", however, has an element of subjectivity and the facts of the given case have a bearing on its import. The words "wrong done", if properly construed, do not appear to have been used in a restricted sense. The said words are required to be so construed as to subsume in its fold even the consequences of the wrongful action and thereby afford the aggrieved party the choice of forum to seek the relief. It viewed through this prism, the phrase 'wrong done' includes the act which is wrongful and the consequences it entails upon the person who is affected by the said wrong and the place where those consequences ensued.

Bombay High Court
Ajay Bandu Darekar And Ors vs Adhikrao Baburao Deshmane And Anr on 9 December, 2019

Bench: N. J. Jamadar
Read full Judgment here: Click here
Citation: 2020(5) MHLJ 672
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