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Raja Brothers, Cloth Merchants Chandni Chowk, Kucha Rehman, Delhi Vs. Chanrai Uttam Chand - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal No. 533D of 1962
Judge
Reported in6(1970)DLT84
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 20
AppellantRaja Brothers, Cloth Merchants Chandni Chowk, Kucha Rehman, Delhi
RespondentChanrai Uttam Chand
Advocates: B.S.C. Singh and; P.K. Jain, Advs
Cases ReferredDhanraj Mills Limited Liability Co. v. Narsingh Prasad Boobna and
Excerpt:
.....nto in delhi, the aforesaid two facts by themselves would be enough to confer jurisdiction on the delhi courts.; petition under section 44 of the punjab courts act and sec 115 c.p.c. for revision of the order of shri p. n. thukral, addl. district judge, delhi. - - (1) the trial court as well as the first appellate court held that the delhi courts had no jurisdiction to try the suit which had been filed by the petitioners against the respendents. for determining the question of jurisdiction of the court on the basis of the bundle of facts which give rise to the cause of action for the suit, it is nto enough for the courts to look only at that paragraph of the plaint-like paragraph 17 of the plaint in the present case-which contains averments of facts giving rise to the cause..........have enumerated the circumstances which according to them conferred jurisdiction upon the delhi courts. these circumstances are that the offer was accepted at delhi where the contract was made; the goods were to be delivered at delhi; damages had accrued at delhi and the cause of action arose at delhi.(5) in paragraph 17 of the plaint the petitioners have enumerated, as stated earlier, all the facts giving rise to the cause of action and i do nto see why the allegation made in paragraph 16 of the plaint regarding the revocation of the contract by the respondents cannto be considered as a part of paragraph 17 of the plaint particularly when paragraph 16 of the plaint specifically refers to the accrual of the cause of action on the receipt of the aforesaid letter dated august 13,.....
Judgment:

S.N. Andley, J.

(1) The trial Court as well as the first appellate Court held that the Delhi Courts had no jurisdiction to try the suit which had been filed by the petitioners against the respendents. This decision was given on issue No. 2, which is framed as follows:-

'WHETHER the Courts at Delhi have gto jurisdiction to try this suit ?'

(2) Both the Courts below came to the conclusion that there was no acceptance of the contract at Delhi as alleged by the petitioners and that the so-called acceptance was merely a counteroffer. In coming to this conclusion the Courts below referred to the correspondence between the parties.

(3) The petitioners had also urged before the Courts below that they were claiming jurisdiction also on the ground that the communication revoking the contract was received by them in Delhi and such communication was the cause of action which gave rise to the suit. This plea was nto entertained on the ground that it had nto been taken in the plaint.

(4) The suit which had been filed by the petitioners was for recovery of Rs. 2,444.00 and this amount was claimed by way of damages for the alleged breach of contract by respondents. The contract of which breach was alleged came to be completed, according to the allegations contained in the plaint, on April 4, 1956, when the petitioners are alleged to have accepted the respondents' offer contained in the latter's letter dated March 31, 1956. In paragraph 2 of the plaint, the petitioners have referred to the aforesaid letter dated March 31, 1956 and have stated that this was an offer sent by the respondents to the petitioners at Delhi for purchase of the goods mentioned in the plaint. In paragraph 4 of the plaint, the petitioner have averred that the aforesaid offer was accepted by them at Delhi on April 5, 1956 when their letter of acceptance was posted at Delhi. The plaint refers to various other facts leading to the claim for damages and then in paragraph 12, the petitioners say that the respondents refused to perform the contract and declined to deliver the goods or to give open delivery by their letter dated August 13, 1956. This letter was received by the petitioners on August 15, 1956, and it is this letter that is alleged to have given rise to the cause of action and which is referred to in paragraph 16 of the plaint where it is stated that cause of action arose on August 15, 1956 when the petitioners received the letter of the respondents dated August 13, 1956 refusing to perform the contract. Then in paragraph 17 of the plaint the petitioners have enumerated the circumstances which according to them conferred jurisdiction upon the Delhi Courts. These circumstances are that the offer was accepted at Delhi where the contract was made; the goods were to be delivered at Delhi; damages had accrued at Delhi and the cause of action arose at Delhi.

(5) In paragraph 17 of the plaint the petitioners have enumerated, as stated earlier, all the facts giving rise to the cause of action and I do nto see why the allegation made in paragraph 16 of the plaint regarding the revocation of the contract by the respondents cannto be considered as a part of paragraph 17 of the plaint particularly when paragraph 16 of the plaint specifically refers to the accrual of the cause of action on the receipt of the aforesaid letter dated August 13, 1956. In these circumstances, I think the Courts below were wrong in saying that repudiation of the contract by the respondents cannto be taken into consideration to determine the question of jurisdiction on the ground that it has nto been taken up in the plaint. For determining the question of jurisdiction of the Court on the basis of the bundle of facts which give rise to the cause of action for the suit, it is nto enough for the Courts to look only at that paragraph of the plaint-like paragraph 17 of the plaint in the present case-which contains averments of facts giving rise to the cause of action and jurisdiction. The entire plaint must be taken into consideration to ascertain the bundle of facts which give rise to the cause of action and to determine whether any one or more of such facts occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the Court.

(6) In determining the petitioners' plea that they accepted the offer of the respondents at Delhi on April 5, 1956, the Courts below have construed and interpreted the various letters and come to the conclusion that the so-called acceptance is nto an acceptance but only a counter-offer.

(7) It has been urged on behalf of the petitioners that even if the alleged acceptance at Delhi is nto taken into consideration, two important facts giving rise to cause of action have been proved- (1) that the offer was received by the petitioners at Delhi and (2) the communication containing the repudiation of the contract was also received by the petitioners at Delhi and it is argued that these two facts by themselves are sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the Delhi Courts.

(8) In Pokhar Mal Ram Nath v. Khanewal Oil Mills it has been held that in a suit for a breach of contract, a Court has jurisdiction if any part of the cause of action arose within its territorial jurisdiction and that the expression 'cause of action' consists of that bundle of rights which taken together give the plaintiff a right to recover damages for breach of contract. To prove the contract, the offer and acceptance have to be proved and, it has thereforee been held, that an offer is an essential part of a contract and is undoubtedly a part of the cause of action. To the same effect is the decision reported in Baroda Oil Cakes Traders v. Parshottam Narayandas Bagulia and another (2).

(9) In Arthur Butler and Co. v. District Board, Gaya which has been relied upon by the learned counsel on both sides, it has been held that the mere making of an offer is nto a part of the cause of action for a suit based on a contract and the suit cannto be brought at the place where the offer originated when the offer was accepted within the jurisdiction of another Court. The respondents cannto derive any support from this case because it is nto the petitioners' case that Delhi is a place where the offer originated. Even according to this case, the place where the offer was accepted is the relevant place to determine the jurisdiction of a Court. It has also been held in this case that revocation of a contract is part of the cause of action in a suit for breach of contract and, thereforee, the place where the communication of revocation of the contract was received may determine the forum for the trial of the suit. If the petitioners' case that the revocation is contained in the respondents' letter dated August 13, 1956 is correct, then the letter containing the revocation having been received by the petitioners in Delhi, the Courts at Delhi would undoubtedly have jurisdiction. To the same effect is the case reported in Dhanraj Mills Limited Liability Co. v. Narsingh Prasad Boobna and others .

(10) Reading the plaint, it is clear that the petitioners' case was that the offer, contained in the respondents' letter dated March 31, 1956, was received by the petitioners at Delhi where from the alleged acceptance dated April 5, 1956 was posted to the respondents. It is further clear that the petitioners are claiming cause of action for the suit on the basis of the alleged revocation by the respondents by their letter dated August 13, 1956, which was received by the petitioners in Delhi on August 15, 1956, The receipt of the offer in Delhi and the receipt of the revocation in Delhi are certainly important parts of the cause of action and even if it be accepted for the sake of argument that the acceptance was nto in Delhi, the aforesaid two facts by themselves would be enough to confer jurisdiction on the Delhi Courts. On this ground, thereforee, this Revision has to be allowed and the judgments of the Courts below set aside. I, thereforee, remand the case for trail on the remaining issues, but I leave the parties to bear their respective costs of this Revision.

(11) Before I part with the case I would like to state that issue No. 3 which has been framed by the trial court is in the following terms:-

'WHETHER there was a contract between the parties whereby the defendant had to supply the goods in question to the plaintiff ?'

(12) This issue is too general in its terms. It will comprehend within itself the contract as pleaded by the petitioners as also the contract as pleaded by the defendants. This issue has to be made more specific in order to confine the plaintiffs to the case set out in the plaint. In exercise thereforee of the revisionary powers of this Court, I reframe issue No. 3 and the reframed issue No. 3 will be in the following terms :-

'WHERE there was a contract between the parties by acceptance by the plaintiffs' letter dated 5-4-1956, where- by the defendants had to supply the goods in question to the plaintiffs ?'


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