SC:If plaint is returned u/ Order VII Rule 10 & 10A, suit to proceed de novo

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 5th August 2020, in the matter of M/s EXL Careers and Another v. Frankfinn Aviation Services Private Limited held that if a plaint is returned under Order VII Rule 10 & 10A of CPC for presentation in the court in which it should have been instituted, the suit shall proceed de novo.

Question before the Hon’ble Supreme Court:

If a plaint is returned under Order VII Rule 10 and 10A of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, (hereinafter called as “the Code”) for presentation in the court in which it should have been instituted, whether the suit shall proceed de novo or will it continue from the stage where it was pending before the court at the time of returning of the plaint ?

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

In a dispute between parties where two or more courts may have jurisdiction, it is always open for them by agreement to confer exclusive jurisdiction by consent on one of the two courts. (Para 13)

If a plaint is returned under Order VII Rule 10 and 10A of CPC for presentation in the court in which it should have been instituted, the suit shall proceed de novo. (This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 16)

In cases dealing with transfer of proceedings from a Court having jurisdiction to another Court, the discretion vested in the Court by Sections 24(2) and 25(3) either to retry the proceedings or proceed from the point at which such proceeding was transferred or withdrawn, is in marked contrast to the scheme under Order VII Rule 10 read with Rule 10-A where no such discretion is given and the proceeding has to commence de novo. (Para 21)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_05-Aug-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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