Legal Provisions of Section 16 of Code of Civil Procedure 1908, (C.P.C.), India

(c) For foreclosure, sale or redemption in the case of a mortgage of or charge upon immovable property.

(d) For the determination of any other right to or interest in immovable property,

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(e) For compensation for wrong to immovable property.

(f) For the recovery of movable property actually under distraint or attachment, shall be instituted in the Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the property is situate:

Provided that a suit to obtain relief respecting, or compensation for wrong to, immovable property held by or on behalf of the defendant may, where the relief sought can be entirely obtained through his personal obedience, be instituted either in the Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the property is situate, or in the Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the defendant actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business, or personally works for gain.

Explanation:

In this section “property” means property situate in India.

Suits regarding immovable property are to be instituted in the court within whose local jurisdiction the property is situate. The proviso to section 16, however, provides that where a suit to obtain relief in respect of immovable property can be entirely obtained through the personal obedience of the defendant, the suit may be instituted either within the local limits of the court where the property is situate or in the court within whose jurisdiction the defendant actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business, or personally works for gain.

Equity acts in personam:

The proviso to the section is an application in a modified form of a maxim of Equity, viz., “Equity acts in personam”. In England the Chancery Courts had and now the Chancery Division of the High Courts of Justice has jurisdiction to entertain certain suits respecting immovable property, though the property might be situate abroad if the relief sought could be obtained through the personal obedience of the defendant.

The personal obedience of the defendant could be secured only if the defendant resided within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the court or carried on business within those limits. It’s essential feature was that the land in respect of which the suit was brought was situate abroad, but the person of the defendant or his personal property was within the jurisdiction of the court in which the suit was brought.

The land being situate abroad the decree could not be executed against the land, but the person or personal property of the defendant being within the jurisdiction of the court the decree could be executed in person.

A suit merely for the recovery of rent from a lessee of immovable property cannot be said to be a suit “for the determination of any other right to or interest in immovable property” under clause (d) and therefore is not covered by section 16, C.P.C.

Amendment of plaint allowed in the interests of justice:

Where property which was not included in suit for want of jurisdiction it could be included in original application for proper adjudication. Tribunal was not bound by procedure laid down by C.P.C. but shall be guided by principles of natural justice. Amendment was sought for before D.R.T. dated back to date to plaint and was not barred by limitation. Property mortgaged to Bank had to be included in O.A. and that was sought by Amendment. As such amendment was allowed in the interests of justice.

Territorial jurisdiction:

The plaintiff had purchased from defendant plant located at ‘M’ by sale deed executed and registered at ‘D’. Consideration was paid at ‘D’. Suit was filed for “storage charges” of goods belonging to defendant lying at plant. Held, that it was suit for damages to immovable property.

Therefore, suit filed at ‘D’ was not maintainable when defendant had no principal office but only a subordinate office at ‘D’. On the other hand counter claim by Defendant was maintainable because plaintiff had principal office at ‘D’.