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“Insufficient Jurisdiction can be a ground for Dismissal of Proceedings”: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court said lack of jurisdiction could attract ‘dismissal of proceedings’ in the case of Indian Olympic Association v. Kerala Olympic Association & ORS. A transfer petition was filed by the petitioner seeking transfer of the case from the High Court of Kerala to Delhi High Court.

Facts of the Case

The Petitioner was registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 as a Society and has its registered office in Delhi. Respondent no.1 was also registered as a society registered under Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Regulation Act, 1955 however; it is affiliated to the petitioner.

The elections for the office bearers to the Kerala Olympic Association took place on the 14th of January 2019 under the supervision of the High Court of Kerala due to a couple of Writ Petitions filed before it.

The Ethics Commission of the Petitioner issued a notice on 23. 12.2019 to the Respondent No.1 to conduct an enquiry regarding elections which had been taken place on 14. 01.2019. This notice was issued on the basis of a memo filed in a civil suit.

This proceeding initiated by the Ethics Commission of the Petitioner was challenged by Respondent No. 1 before the High Court of Kerala, contending that the elections had taken place under the supervision of the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala and the Ethics Commission of the Petitioner had no right to take actions.  

This Writ Petition filed before Hon’ble High Court of Kerala by Respondent no. 1 was challenged before the Supreme Court by filing a transfer petition seeking transfer of the case to Delhi High Court.

Petitioner’s Submission

Learned Counsel for the Petitioner relied on the by-laws of the Indian Olympic Association and submitted that all the legal proceedings against the Petitioner will only be filed at New Delhi and all the States Olympic Associations are bound to follow the Constitution of India Olympic Association which is affiliated to it.

This contention was also pronounced in the case of K. Murugan v. Fencing Association of India, Jabalpur and Ors. where the Court held that all the litigations shall be filed within the jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court and litigations filed beyond the jurisdiction of the Delhi high court shall not be permitted. The court also ordered that this procedure shall be mandatory in the interest of the proper functioning of society.

It was further submitted that in the case of Arvee Industries and Ors. v. Rattan Lal Sharma, it was stated that if a suit is instituted in the wrong Court, it will not bear any question of law.

The learned counsel also relied on the Judgement of M.P Triathlon Association Through its Secretary and Ars. v. India Triathlon Federation and Ors.,where the Court ordered the Indian Olympic Association to follow a particular rule where the members of the association can voluntarily give up their right to seek redressal in any other court of law. 

Observation by Court

In the present case the Court observed that “if a Court has no jurisdiction to try a 𝘭𝘪𝘴, it is good for the party raising the issue of jurisdiction to seek the dismissal/return of the proceedings, rather than seeking a transfer.”

Court’s Decision

While considering the facts and all the arguments advanced before the bench, the Court decided that decision of Arvee Industries will not be the answer to the contentions submitted by the Petitioner because in this judgement, it was never mentioned that invalid proceedings would be validated if the opposite party transferred the same case to a Court having its jurisdiction.

Similarly, the Court stated that the order in M.P Triathlon Association would also not assist the petitioner as no thesis of law is made.

Further, dismissing the transfer Petition filed by the Petitioner, the Supreme Court ordered that the issue of jurisdiction is open to be raised by the Petitioner along with other issues when the proceeding will be initiated in the High Court of Kerala.

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