Bombay High Court Refuses To Entertain Housing Society's Plea Seeking To Enhance Suit Value To ₹100 Crore

Bombay High Court Refuses To Entertain Housing Society's Plea Seeking To Enhance Suit Value To ₹100 Crore

The HC has asked the society to approach the civil court, considering its pecuniary jurisdiction has been increased to Rs10 crore from January 28.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Saturday, February 24, 2024, 08:43 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

Mumbai, February 25: The Bombay High Court has refused to entertain a south Mumbai housing society’s application seeking to increase the valuation of its 2002 suit from Rs6.75 crore to Rs100 crore. The HC has asked the society to approach the civil court, considering its pecuniary jurisdiction has been increased to Rs10 crore from January 28. 

Justice Sandeep Marne observed, “Permitting a court to entertain or decide any application filed in a suit, which is already transferred to another court, would set a dangerous trend where courts, despite losing jurisdiction, would continue to exercise jurisdiction in an indirect manner over those suits.”

In January, the Bombay City Civil Court Act 1948 was amended wherein the pecuniary jurisdiction of the city civil court was increased from Rs1 crore to Rs10 crore. It came into force on January 28. Section 4A of the amended Act mandated transfer of all suits up to Rs10 crore from the HC to the city civil court.

About The Suit:

Grand Paradi Co-operative Housing Society Ltd, comprising 169 members (including tower and row house owners), had filed a suit in 2002 against Mont Blanc Properties & Industries Pvt Ltd, which constructed the society buildings, valued at Rs6.75 crore. The suit primarily sought conveyance of the buildings and lands as per computation of area. 

The society claimed that it valued the suit for court fees and jurisdiction at Rs6.75 based on the value of all the flats and row houses as on November 27, 1977, being the date on which the developer was expected to execute the conveyance. The value of all those flats and row houses as on the date of filing of the suit was much higher.

Why Society Wants To Increase Suit Evaluation?

The society filed an application on February 5, after the amendment was affected, seeking to amend the valuation of the suit to Rs100 crore. Its counsel Navroz Seervai argued that if their application was allowed by the HC, then the revised valuation of its suit would be more than Rs10 crore and hence the HC would have the jurisdiction to hear the same. 

Seervai pointed out that there was need for amendment due to occurrence of subsequent events. He pointed out that a public notice was issued on November 28, 2023, by the solicitors on behalf of undisclosed clients investigating the right, title and interest of Mont Blanc.

The society, on December 8, responded to the notice and lodged its objections. It also asked the developer to provide a copy of the agreement dated 19 December 1972, which was provided by the developer on December 15. The society then learnt that a development agreement was executed on September 29, 2023 between Mont Blanc and proposed defendant 3, K Raheja Corp Real Estate Pvt Ltd.

Mont Blanc Opposes Plea:

Mont Blanc’s counsel Janak Dwarkadas and K Raheja’s counsel Cyrus Ardeshir opposed the plea contending that the HC no longer had the jurisdiction to decide any application.

Justice Marne noted that considering the express language of Section 4A of the amended Act, the suit stood transferred to the civil court as on January 28, 2024. The court has directed the HC Registry to take “immediate steps” for transfer of all papers to the civil court within a week.

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