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Grounds of transfer in CPC

Updated: May 5


Grounds of Transfer in CPC

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Position of Plaintiff


The plaintiff holds the position of dominus litis, granting them the prerogative to select their preferred forum.


Typically, this right of the plaintiff remains inviolable, impervious to interference or limitation from either the opposing party or the court.


A court retains the authority to transfer any suit, appeal, or other proceeding, guided by pertinent and pertinent considerations. It is universally acknowledged that the balance of convenience stands as a paramount factor in the transfer of a suit.


The term "balance of convenience" has sparked extensive legal deliberation and has been imbued with the essence of numerous judicial interpretations. Put simply, it constitutes a factual inquiry in each instance.


The balance of convenience does not solely favour the plaintiff or the defendant but encompasses both parties. In assessing the balance of convenience for a suit's trial, the court must consider several factors:


(1) the convenience or inconvenience of the plaintiff and their right to select their own forum;


(2) the convenience or inconvenience of the defendant;


(3) the convenience or inconvenience of the witnesses necessary for a fair trial of the suit;


(4) the convenience or inconvenience of a specific trial location, taking into account the nature of evidence on the main issues of the suit and the doctrine of "forum conveniens"; and


(5) the nature of the issues involved in the suit.


Approach of Court


The jurisdiction to transfer a case demands meticulous scrutiny, caution, and circumspection. The pursuit should be for justice, and the court must ascertain that justice is more likely to prevail between the parties by declining to permit the plaintiff to pursue their suit in their chosen forum.


While a mere balance of convenience favouring proceedings in another court, although a significant consideration, may not always serve as a definitive criterion justifying transfer.


In this jurisdiction, the court's approach should be pragmatic rather than theoretical. The expansive scope of the phrase "expedient in the interest of justice" provides a broad guideline for the exercise of power.


Whether it is expedient or desirable in the interest of justice to transfer a case to another court hinges on the specific circumstances of each case.


The paramount consideration remains the interest of justice, and when the pursuit of justice necessitates the transfer of a case, the court should not hesitate to take action.

 
 

Grounds for Transfer of Suits(Case Laws)

  1. To prevent the proliferation of proceedings or conflicting judgments (Indian Overseas Bank v Chemical Construction Co.).

  2. When a litigant reasonably fears they may not receive justice in the current court due to biased judges, ensuring not only the delivery of justice but also its perception (Gujarat Electricity Board v Atmaram Sun gom al PoshaniMR 1989 SC 1433).

  3. When common questions of fact and law arise between parties in two separate suits (Indian Overseas Bank v Chemical Construction Co.).

  4. When the balance of convenience necessitates, such as when the property's location or the residence of parties or witnesses is a determining factor (Arvee Industries v Itaaw Lal AIR 1977 SC 2429).

  5. When transfer aids in avoiding unnecessary delays and expenses (Shiv Kumari v Ramajor Shitla Prasad AIR 1997 SC 1036).

  6. When transfer prevents the abuse of court proceedings (Maneka Sanjay Gandhi v Rani Jethmalani).

  7. When significant questions of law are at stake, or when a considerable portion of the public has an interest in the litigation (Arvee Industries v Ratan Lal).

 
 

Inadequate Grounds for Transfer of Suits(Cases)


  1. Sole reliance on the balance of convenience for the applicant's preference (Indian Overseas Bank v Chemical Construction Co.).

  2. Unsubstantiated claims of apprehension regarding a fair trial without providing specific details (Maneka Sanjay Gandhi v Rani Jethmalani).

  3. Merely citing the distance between the court and the applicant's place of residence (Manohar Lal v Seth Hiralal AIR 1962 SC 527).

  4. Simply asserting that the opposite party holds influence in the locality (Subramaniam Swamy (Dr.) v Ramakrishna Hegde AIR 1990 SC 113).

  5. Merely highlighting the presiding officer's community affiliation as rival to that of the applicant (Gaja Dhar Prasad v Sohan Lal AIR 1934 Lah 762).

  6. Mere indication that the judge has ruled on a similar point in a prior case (Krishan Kanahya v Vijay Kumar AIR 1976 Del 184).

  7. Judges' adverse remarks concerning the merits of the case (Gujarat Electricity Board v Atmaram Sungomal Poshani).


Application for Transfer After Hearing


Submitting an application for transfer after a hearing is indeed permissible "at any stage." However, the discretionary power to transfer a suit, appeal, or other proceeding necessitates its exercise in the interests of justice.


Hence, the court may reject such a request if it is made in bad faith or with the intention to evade an unfavourable decision after the conclusion of the hearing.


In the case of Gujarat Electricity Board v. Atmaram Sungomal Poshani, A, an employee of the Electricity Board, was transferred but failed to report to the new location.


Consequently, disciplinary actions were initiated, leading to the termination of A's services. A challenged this decision by filing a petition, which was granted by the High Court. The Board then appealed to the Supreme Court, where both parties' advocates were given a full opportunity to present their arguments.


The Court concluded that the High Court erred in granting relief to A, a perspective shared by the Judges comprising the Bench. The Court suggested that A consider settling the matter and adjourned proceedings accordingly.


Upon the resumption of the appeal's hearing, a new advocate sought to argue the case, but the Court declined to hear them.


Subsequently, A submitted an application requesting the transfer of the case to a different Bench, citing a lack of confidence in the original Bench that had heard the matter. Describing this request as "unusual, uncalled for, and unjustified," the Court dismissed the application.



Reasons


While it may not be mandatory for an order of transfer to include recorded reasons, it is deemed preferable to do so.


Although the absence of recorded reasons does not automatically render the order invalid, in certain instances, a superior court may withhold approval of such an order on the basis of perceived lack of thoughtful consideration by the court prior to issuing the order.


Effect of Transfer


When a suit, appeal, or other proceeding is transferred from one court to another, the scope of transfer extends beyond the primary proceedings alone.


All ancillary and incidental matters arising from such suit, appeal, etc., are also within the purview of the transferee court, which will handle and adjudicate upon them accordingly.

 
 

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