Staff Reporter

Dismisses petitions seeking transfer of cases before sub-courts Dismisses petitions seeking transfer of cases before sub-courts

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench has ruled that it does not have territorial jurisdiction to order transfer of a case pending before a subordinate court under the jurisdiction of its principal seat in Chennai to a court under its control.

Justice P.R. Shivakumar passed the ruling while dismissing a batch of petitions seeking transfer of different cases from Dharapuram, Chengalpattu, Coimbatore, Salem and Cuddalore to Madurai, Tuticorin, Karur, Kumbakonam and Tirunelveli.

Stating that all the petitions were filed on the assumption that every lower court functioning in the State was subordinate to both the principal seat as well as the Madurai Bench, the Judge referred to the presidential notification that restricted the jurisdiction of the Bench only to the southern districts.

He also cited a few Supreme Court rulings that held that the establishment of a permanent Bench with powers to exercise jurisdiction over defined areas would virtually effect a bifurcation of the State for the purpose of exercising such jurisdiction.

"I am of the considered view that the principal seat and the permanent Bench at Madurai shall be construed as separate... even though the Judges are interchangeable at the discretion of the Chief Justice. The only exception is the discretion conferred upon the Chief Justice to direct any case or class of cases arising within the jurisdiction of permanent Bench at Madurai to be heard at Chennai," the Judge said.

Nevertheless, he made it clear that the petitioners could approach the principal seat in Chennai seeking a similar direction. Besides there was no bar on the Madurai Bench to transfer a case pending before a subordinate court in its jurisdiction to a court under the sphere of the principal seat, he said.