The word Jurisdiction really has semblance with the meaning of word "Power". In Latin 'juris' means law. It is the authority granted to a legal body to speak on a particular legal issue. Each Court is having separate powers to deal with particular cases. The separation of power is provided by the legislation. This method is followed for convenience and for the ends of justice. Some sort of cases require special knowledge and experience. For the interests of justice those special cases should be heard by special forums. Likewise, small matters can be adjudged by those with basic knowledge and lesser experience and thereby the higher authorities are not overburdened.
Types of Jurisdiction of Courts
In Civil Procedure Code the word jurisdiction is not clearly defined. But several provisions in CPC speaks of different kinds of jurisdiction of civil courts viz Sections 6, 9, 15-20 etc. The various types of jurisdiction are as below:
Every Court has its own territorial limits of jurisdiction. This power is so vested for easy disposal of a matter. Extra territorial jurisdiction if granted will delay the process. Government fixes the local limits to be exercised by a Court. Every State has a High Court which is the higher judicial institution in the State. Every District
will have a District Court which will have overall control of courts and cases in that particular district. Every Sub-District Taluk, village etc may have various other lower Courts which will deal with the cases the cause of action of which arose in the particular locality assigned to it. Generally a Court which do not have the authority to try cases beyond its territorial jurisdiction.
Section 6 of the CPC says that no court will get jurisdiction over suits the amount or value of the subject-matter of which exceeds the pecuniary limits of its ordinary jurisdiction. The pecuniary limit of jurisdiction of a Munsiff Court is 1 lakh rupees(eg. in money suits or property disputes if the value of the property is or below 1 lakh). However the District Court and High Court do not have such pecuniary limits. But this does not mean that they can entertain all suits. There are other limitations in the code. These higher courts acts generally as Courts of Appeal.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Writ jurisdiction is only vested with High Court and Supreme Court. Other lower courts cannot adjudicate a matter concerning writs. Those are matter requiring high knowledge and experience. The District Court normally acts as an appellate Court to judgements passed by other lower courts. But it has ordinary original jurisdiction to entertain matters like copyright, insolvency, local fund audit, etc. The Munsiff Courts deal with various other matters.
As already stated the appeal from Munsiff Courts goes to higher Courts of jurisdiction. Appeal from appeals or original judgments from the District Courts will be filed in the High Court. Special cases will go for appeal in the Supreme Court also. In some matters there are review provided in the same court. But in some legislations only appeal to any order is provided. Supreme Court is the highest Court of Appeal in the country.
It is said that a judgement passed by a court without jurisdiction is ultravires or illegal which cannot be enforced. But in the interests of justice there are certain limitations prescribed in the CPC regarding appreciation of objection to jurisdiction in Section 21. But if the parties waived the right to object it will not be further allowed in any Court of appeal. But in certain cases if there is failure of justice, the objection is allowed by higher courts. Thus the general rule is that if the court rendering a judgment suffers from want of jurisdiction in respect of any one of the above matters its judgment is a nullity and may be ignored.