The different kinds of jurisdiction are:

  1. Civil and criminal jurisdiction
  2. Territorial or local jurisdiction
  3. Pecuniary jurisdiction
  4. Jurisdiction as to the subject-matter of the suit
  5. Original and appellate jurisdiction
  6. Exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction
  7. General and special jurisdiction
  8. Legal and equitable jurisdiction
  9. Domestic and foreign jurisdiction
  10. Expounding or expanding jurisdiction
  1. Civil and criminal jurisdiction

Civil jurisdiction is that jurisdiction which deals with disputes of a civil nature, as for instance, the commission of a tort or a breach of contract. Criminal jurisdiction, on the other hand, is the one which relates to a crime and deals with punishment of the offender, as for instance, prosecution for murder or robbery.

  1. Territorial or local jurisdiction

Every court has its own territorial or local limits fixed by the law, beyond which it cannot exercise its jurisdiction. Thus, a District Judge has jurisdiction over the territory within a particular district and not beyond those limits. The High Court has jurisdiction over all the territories comprised in the state in which it is situated and not beyond. Again, a Court has no jurisdiction over immovable which is situated beyond its territorial limits.

  • Every court has its own specific local territorial limits, which refers to the geographical boundaries, beyond which it cannot exercise its jurisdiction. The district courts can exercise jurisdiction only within the district and high courts can exercise jurisdiction only over the territory of that particular state.
  1. Pecuniary Jurisdiction

Under the Code, a court has jurisdiction only over those suits, the amount or value of the subject-matter where of does not exceed the pecuniary limits of its jurisdiction. Thus, in Mumbai, the Small Causes Court cannot try a suit if the amount is more than Rs. 10,000/- and the City Civil Court cannot exercise jurisdiction if the amount claimed in the suit is more than Rs. one crore. All suits where the claim is more than Rs. one crore are to be filed in the High Court.

  1. Jurisdiction as to the subject-matter of the suit.

The law empowers different courts to try different types of suits and legal proceedings. Likewise, some courts are barred from trying certain types of suits. Thus, a Small Causes Court has no jurisdiction to try suits involving, inter alia, specific performance of a contract or a partition of immovable property. Likewise, only the Supreme Court and the High Courts are empowered to hear writ petitions.

  1. Original and appellate jurisdiction

Original jurisdiction is the jurisdiction conferred upon a court of the first instance. Thus, a Small Causes Court has only original jurisdiction and no appeals can be filed in that Court. Appellate jurisdiction, on the other hand, is jurisdiction conferred upon a superior court to hear appeals from decisions of subordinate courts. Thus, an appeal from a decision of the City Civil Court can be filed in the High Court, and an appeal from a decision of the High Court lies before the Supreme Court.

  • A court may have original or appellate jurisdiction or both. In the exercise of its original jurisdiction, a court tries original suits instituted in that court. In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, it hears appeals from orders and decrees passed by subordinate courts.
  • There are some courts that are courts of original jurisdiction only, e.g. the provincial small cause courts.
  • There are some courts that are courts only of appellate jurisdiction, and not of original jurisdiction.
  1. Exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction

If a particular type of suit can be filed only in one court or tribunal, and no other court or tribunal can try that suit, it is a case of exclusive jurisdiction, as for instance, the Debt Recovery Tribunal, the Competition Commission, etc. Concurrent or co-ordinate jurisdiction, on the other hand, is jurisdiction which can be exercised by different courts or tribunals over the same subject-matter. Thus, the Supreme Court and the High Courts have concurrent jurisdiction to entertain writ petitions.

  1. General and special jurisdiction

General jurisdiction extends to all cases comprised in one class or classes of cases. Special or limited or exclusive jurisdiction, on the other hand, is confirmed to a particular type of cases. Thus, the Small Causes Court has special or exclusive jurisdiction in all rent matters.

  1. Legal and equitable jurisdiction

In the olden days, in England, legal jurisdiction was exercised by the Common Law Courts, whereas equitable jurisdiction was exercised by Equity Courts. This distinction is, however, only of academic interest today. In India there are no separate Equity Courts. All Courts are law courts which administer the law of the land. However, in the absence of a specific law on a given point, the law courts base their decision on equity, justice and good conscience.

  1. Domestic and foreign jurisdiction

Domestic (or municipal) jurisdiction is jurisdiction exercised by the courts of the country, whereas foreign jurisdiction refers to jurisdiction exercised by a court in a foreign country.

  1. Expounding and expanding jurisdiction

Expounding jurisdiction refers to the act of defining, clarifying and explaining the jurisdiction possessed by a Court. The term, expanding jurisdiction, is used when a court expands, enlarges or extends its jurisdiction. It is well-accepted that it is a court’s duty to expound its jurisdiction and that it is not proper on its part to expand its jurisdiction.

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