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R.B.Saxena & Sons v. Mahindra Logistics Ltd. - (High Court of Delhi) (04 Oct 2016)

Agreement to confer exclusive jurisdiction on one of Courts to exclusion of other, neither forbidden by law nor against public policy



Instant petition filed by Petitioner against Respondent, Mahindra Logistics Limited, seeking appointment of an Arbitrator to adjudicate disputes between parties arising out of contract dated 29th November 2014 which contains an arbitration clause (Article 22). In present case, registered office of Respondent is located in Mumbai although it has corporate office in Delhi. Agreement was entered into between them in Delhi. Under Article 19 of agreement, notice was to be served on Respondent at its registered office in Mumbai. Respondent states that it has only account in Mumbai and payments were disbursed to Petitioner from said account and payments were received by Petitioner from said account.

Very fact that, ouster clause is included in agreement between parties conveys their clear intention to exclude jurisdiction of Courts other than those mentioned in concerned clause. Conversely, if parties had intended that all Courts where cause of action or a part thereof had arisen would continue to have jurisdiction over dispute, exclusion clause would not have found a place in agreement between parties.

In present case, Courts both in Mumbai and in Delhi would have jurisdiction consequent upon a part of cause of action having arisen within jurisdiction of this Court. If parties have agreed to confer exclusive jurisdiction on one of those Courts, i.e., Courts at Mumbai to exclusion of other Courts, such clause is not void or hit by Section 23 of Contract Act as explained in A.B.C. Laminart and reaffirmed in Swastik Gases P. Limited. In that view of matter, this Court declined to entertain the present Petition while leaving it open to Petitioner to approach the Court in Mumbai for appropriate relief in accordance with law.

Relevant : Bharat Aluminium Inc. (BALCO) v. Kaiser Aluminium Technical Service Inc. 2012 (9) SCC 552, A.B.C. Laminart v. A.P. Agencies (1989) 2 SCC 163, Swastik Gases P. Limited v. Indian Oil Corporation Limited reported in (2013) 9 SCC 32, Section 11 (6) of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996


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