Clause ousting jurisdiction of courts held valid, Gauhati HC directs petitioner to pursue remedy before Delhi courts

Gauhati High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Kalyan Rai Surana, J. dismissed a revision petition filed under Section 115 CPC read with Article 226 of the Constitution against the order of Civil Judge whereby he returned the plaint filed by the petitioner for filing the same before appropriate court in Delhi.

The petitioner had filed a money suit against the respondent before Civil Judge, Kamrup, Gauhati. The action arose out of a written agency agreement between the parties. It is pertinent to note that the same agreement contained a clause that made all the claims arising out of or in relation to the agreement to be subject to jurisdiction of the courts at Delhi. Accordingly, the Civil Judge returned the plaint directing the petitioner to file the same before courts at Delhi. Aggrieved by the same, the petitioner filed the instant revision.

The High Court perused the agreement. The question before the  Court was ‘whether courts at Gauhati had jurisdiction to adjudicate the claim or whether the clause conferring jurisdiction to Delhi courts would act as an ouster of jurisdiction?’. On appreciation of the facts, the Court noted that all the transactions between the parties occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of courts both in Delhi and Gauhati. It was also noted that the present transaction for which the action was brought (security deposit clause) was not independent of the agreement between the parties subjecting all disputes to jurisdiction of Delhi courts. Reliance was placed in Swastik Gases (P) Ltd. v. Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd., (2013) 9 SCC 32 to hold that notwithstanding where the agency agreement was to be performed, the existence of the jurisdiction clause makes intention of the parties very clear that they desire the disputes relating to the agreement to be settled by the Delhi courts. Accordingly, it was held that courts at Delhi would have jurisdiction to settle disputes between the parties. The revision petition was, thus, dismissed. [Pankaj Baid v. Bawa Masala Co.,2018 SCC OnLine Gau 908, dated 17-08-2018]

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