The metropolis has been expanded to bring a large number of suburbs into the city limits, but does it mean that the territorial jurisdiction of local courts will also cover these newly included areas?

The Madras High Court has ruled that a mere addition of areas to the city for purposes of local administration will not have any bearing on its territorial jurisdiction or that of the Chennai City Civil Court.

The Chennai City Civil Court had jurisdiction over Chennai city. ‘City’ meant the area within the local limits of the ordinary original civil jurisdiction of the High Court. If the State legislature intended to add any area to the High Court’s jurisdiction, it could be done by either amending the Madras High Court (Jurisdictional Limits) Act and the Madras High Court (Jurisdictional Limits) Extension Act or by bringing in new legislation.

Only the two State enactments occupy the field as of now, Justice S. Nagamuthu said.

The question before the High Court in a revision petition challenging a Chennai City Civil Court order in a property suit was whether Kathirvedu village in the city’s north west part came within the city civil court’s jurisdiction or not.

An argument before the civil court was that as per a Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department’s Government Order of July 2011, Kathirvedu had been brought within the Chennai Corporation limits. The civil court accepted this contention. The village was originally within the jurisdiction of the District Munsif Court, Tiruvottiyur.

The civil court’s order was challenged through a revision petition.

Mr. Justice Nagamuthu said a plain reading of the G.O. would make it clear that it had been issued under the Chennai City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) Act. The order would not alter the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court and City Civil Court. It would cover only the subject dealt with in the CCMC Act. Thus, the lower court was not correct in holding that Kathirvedu fell within its jurisdiction.

The High Court transferred the case from the City Civil Court, Chennai, to the District Munsif’s court, Tiruvottiyur.

When the court was informed that several such suits had been entertained by the City Civil Court by relying on an order of the High Court in an earlier case (Pappamal vs TNEB), Mr.Justice Nagamuthu said it was for the respective civil court to decide about the future course of action as per the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC). He was unable to subscribe to the view taken by the Judge in that case as it was contrary to CPC and judgments of Division Benches of the High Court and Supreme Court.