(1) This is a petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India for the issue of a Writ of Certiorari to call for the records in Case No. 482 of 1953 on the file of the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation of Andhra at Madras and to issue an appropriate writ quashing the orders of the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation.
(2) A preliminary objection was raised by the respondents' Advocate that the Writ Petition is not maintainable in as much as the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation has his office at Madras, outside the territorial juririsdiction of the High Court of Andhra.
(3) Following the decisions of the Supreme Court in -- 'Election Commr., India v. Saka Venkata Rao', : 4SCR1144 (A) the learned Chief Justice of Andhra held in -- 'V. Janaiah v. Board of Revenue, Andhra', (S) AIR 1935 Andhra 23 (B) that the Board, which is situated in the City of Madras, is not within the area of the Andhra State over which the Andhra High Court has jurisdiction and that no Writ under Article 226 could be issued to it. In this view, Writ Petition must be held to be not maintainable.
(4) But the learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the office of the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation is temporarily located at Madras and the Government may waive their objection to the jurisdiction of the Andhra High Court hearing the petition. At the time of the hearing of the petition, the learned Govt. Pleader represented that the Government are wiling to waive the objection as to jurisdiction. Even so, the respondents' Advocate contends that an objection to jurisdiction cannot be waived and this Court cannot exercise its jurisdiction by consent of parties.
(5) Article 226(1) of the Constitution of India runs as follows :
'Notwithstanding anything in Article 32, every High Court shall have power throughout the territories in relation to which it exercise jurisdiction, to issue to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases any Government, within those territories, directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of 'Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and Certiorari' or any of them for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III and for any other purpose.'
(6) At pp. 212 - 213 of the Supreme Court decision, Patanjali Sastri C. J., stated as follows :
'But wide as were the powers thus conferred a two-fold limitation was placed upon their exercise. In the first place, the power is to be exercised 'throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction' that is to say, the writs issued by the court cannot run beyond the territories subject to its jurisdiction. Secondly, the person or authority to whom the High Court is empowered to issue such writs must be within those territories', which clearly implies that they must be amenable to its jurisdiction, either by residence or location within those territories.'
(7) The fact that the office of the Commissioner for Workmen's Compensation is 'temporarily' located in the City of Madras does not in my view, make any difference. It is the 'location' within its territorial limits that gives jurisdiction to this Court and so long as the once is located outside the territorial jurisdiction of this court, it is immaterial whether that location is temporary or permanent. In either case the jurisdiction to issue a writ does not exist.
(8) Then the question as to whether there can be a waiver of objection to jurisdiction falls to be considered. In Mulla's Code of Civil Procedure, 12th edition, at page 129 the following passage occurs under the heading 'Waiver of Objections' to jurisdiction :
'Where by reason of any limitation imposed by Statute Charter, or Commission, a court is 'without jurisdiction' to entertain any particular action or matter, neither the acquiescence nor the express consent of the parties can confer jurisdiction upon the Court, nor can consent give a court jurisdiction if a condition which goes to the jurisdiction has not been performed or fulfilled. Where a limited court takes upon itself to exercise a jurisdiction, it does not possess, its decision amounts to nothing. The general rule, therefore, is that consent cannot give jurisdiction and want of jurisdiction cannot be waived.'
(9) This principle has been well stated by the Privy Council in -- 'Meenakshi Naidoo v. Subramaniya Sastri', 11 Mad 26 (C). That was a case in which the High Court of Madras had entertained an appeal from an adjudication from which no appeal was provided for by any enactment. Their Lordships of the Privy Council held that the decree of the High Court was a nullity, because there wa an inherent incompetency in the High Court to deal with the question brought before it and no consent could have conferred upon the High Court that jurisdiction which it never possessed.
(10) There is an essential distinction between cases where there is a total want of jurisdiction and cases where there is merely an irregular exercise or assumption of jurisdiction. The irregualr exercise or assumption of jurisdiction may be waived but the doctrine of waiver cannot be invoked in a case where there is a total want of jurisdiction.
(11) I am satisfied that the Government's offer to waive their objection as to jurisdiction in the instant case therefore does not avail the petitioner. The petition is, therefore dismissed with costs of the 1st defendant Rs. 100/-.
(12) Petition dismissed.