In a recent judgment, the Delhi High Court, held that a party can institute the suit only at the place of its registered office and not at its branch office, if no cause of action has arisen against the defendants in the said branch office under the Copyrights Act, 1957
The said ruling was delivered in the matter of The Indian Performing Right Society ltd. vs. Aditya Pandey, CS(OS) No. 1185 of 2006, decided on 05.04.2018.
The question before the Hon’ble Court was whether the Plaint can be returned under Order VII Rule 10 on the ground that the Court does not have territorial jurisdiction. The Plaintiff had invoked the jurisdiction of the Hon’ble Court under Section 62 (2) of the Copyright Act, 1957 stating that it carries on business within the territorial jurisdiction of the court through a branch office situated in Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi.
The High Court held that in light of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Indian Performing Right Society Ltd. vs. Sanjay Dalia, 2015 10 SCC 161, the Court lacks territorial jurisdiction to try and adjudicate the suit as the suit is filed on the basis that Plaintiff operates its place of business through a Branch Office when no cause of action has arisen against the Defendants at Delhi. The Hon’ble Court further held that the law is settled on the point that any objections to pecuniary and territorial jurisdiction has to be taken at the earliest possible stage. Objection with respect to the territorial jurisdiction of a Court cannot be entertained at a stage when issues have been framed.
It is open to the defendants to waive their plea with respect to the objection on territorial jurisdiction of the Court. Once the Defendants have given up their plea objecting to territorial jurisdiction, there is no impediment to the said court in proceeding with the suit.
The Hon’ble Court delved into another aspect of law and public policy, i.e. none shall be vexed twice for the same relief. The Court held that returning of plaint 12 years after its institution, where the defendants have already waived their plea objecting to territorial jurisdiction, so that the same may be filed before Hon’ble High Court at Bombay, will mean that the Court allowed its machinery to be used improperly, permitting the process of law to be abused.