Supreme Court Affirms Equitable Role of Doctrine of Forum Conveniens in Territorial Jurisdiction Determination Under Article 226

Landmark Judgment Law Insider (1)

Published on: May 13, 2024 11:30 IST

Court: Supreme Court of India

Case: State of Goa v. Summit Online Trade Solutions (P) Ltd. 2023

Honourable Supreme Court of India has held that Doctrine of Forum Conveniens, plays equitable role in determining of the Territorial Jurisdiction in exercising the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India by the High Courts.

The averments in the Writ Petition must be taken at face value, subject to the condition that they bear a nexus to the prayers sought.

It is held 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.

15. This is a case where clause (2) of Article 226 has been invoked by the High Court to clothe it with the jurisdiction to entertain and try the writ petitions. The constitutional mandate of clause (2) is that the “cause of action”, referred to therein, must at least arise in part within the territories in relation to which the High Court exercises jurisdiction when writ powers conferred by clause (1) are proposed to be exercised, notwithstanding that the seat of the Government or authority or the residence of the person is not within those territories.

16. The expression “cause of action” has not been defined in the Constitution. However, the classic definition of “cause of action” given by Lord Brett in Cooke v. Gill [Cooke v. Gill, [L.R.] 8 C.P. 107] that “cause of action means every fact which it would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove, if traversed, in order to support his right to the judgment of the court”, has been accepted by this Court in a couple of decisions. It is axiomatic that without a cause, there cannot be any action. However, in the context of a writ petition, what would constitute such “cause of action” is the material facts which are imperative for the writ petitioner to plead and prove to obtain relief as claimed.

Drafted By Abhijit Mishra

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