(Prayer: Appeal under Order 36 Rule 11 of O.S. Rules r/w. Clause 15 of the Letters Patent to set aside the order dated 14.11.2019 passed in A.No.4677 of 2019 in C.S.No.499 of 2018.)
T.S. Sivagnanam, J.
1. This appeal is by the defendants in C.S.No.499 of 2018 filed by the respondent/plaintiff. The suit was laid for recovery of a sum of Rs.4,18,03,148/- along with interest at 9% and subsequent interest on the principal amount from the date of the plaint till the date of realization of the amount. The respondent/plaintiff filed A.No.5161 of 2018 for grant of leave to file a suit before this Court against the appellants/defendants 2 to 5 as they reside outside the jurisdiction of the Court. The said application was allowed. The appellants before us filed A.No.4677 of 2019 to revoke the leave granted under Clause 12 of the Letters Patent as the suit does not disclose any part of cause of action to have arisen within the jurisdiction of this Court. The said application was dismissed by the learned Single Bench by order dated 14.11.2019. Challenging the same, the appellants/defendants have filed this appeal.
2. We have elaborately heard M/s.Nalini Chidambaram, learned senior counsel appearing for Mr.N.R.R.Arun Natarajan, learned counsel appearing for the appellants/defendants and Mr.V.R.Appaswamee and Mr.Vijayarajan, learned counsels appearing for the respondent/plaintiff
3. The learned senior counsel appearing for the appellants would contend that the first appellant has not entered into any contract with the respondent/plaintiff as the respondent's head office is in Mumbai, their Farm Equipments business division and factory is in Gummidipoondi, Tiruvallur District and the Regional Office alone is located in Chennai and the contract dated 25.11.2008 was entered into between the first appellant and the plaintiff at Gummidipoondi, all correspondences were only to Gummidipoondi and the first appellant has not entered into any contract with the respondent/plaintiff and there is no privity of contract or letter of correspondence between the first appellant and the respondent/plaintiff. It is further submitted that the first appellant is a transporter who has transported the consignments from the premises of the plaintiff at Gummidipoondi to locations all over India and the learned Single Bench misconstrued that the respondent at Chennai and Gummidipoondi are one and the same and only for the purpose of filing the suit before this Court, the respondent has been shown as the plaintiff.
4. The learned senior counsel referred to the affidavit filed in support of the application filed to revoke leave, wherein relevant paragraphs of the plaint have been quoted and it is submitted that the respondent while filing the application seeking leave has made false averments stating that the entire cause of action took place within the jurisdiction of this Court and subsequently in the counter affidavit filed by the appellants for revoking leave, the respondent stated that part of cause of action took place within the jurisdiction of this Court, though according to the appellants not even a fraction of cause of action arose within the jurisdiction of this Court. Further, the learned senior counsel submitted that while deciding the application to revoke leave, the Court is required to examine the plaint averments alone but the Court permitted the respondent to file an affidavit and taking note of the averments set out in the said affidavit, the application for revocation of leave was dismissed which is not tenable. Further, it is submitted that in respect of the same subject matter, the first appellant has filed a suit in O.S.No.10 of 2016 against M/s.Greaves Cotton Limited, Gummidipoondi and six others before the Additional District Court, Ponneri for freight charges in which M/s.Greaves Cotton Limited, Gummidipoondi has filed written statement and the other defendants have also filed a memo adopting the written statement filed by M/s.Greaves Cotton Limited, Gummidipoondi and they have not raised any objection regarding the territorial jurisdiction of the Additional District Court, Ponneri to entertain the suit. Therefore, it is submitted that the learned Single Bench ought to have allowed the application for revocation and revoked the leave granted to the respondent/plaintiff.
5. Mr.V.R.Appaswamee, learned counsel appearing for the respondent/plaintiff submitted that in so far as the suit which has been filed by the first appellant in Ponneri, an application for transfer has been filed by the respondent for the suit to be transferred to be tried along with C.S.No.499 of 2018 before this Court and the same is pending. Further, it is submitted that the order passed by the learned Single Bench was taking note of the plaint averments and since the appellants brought in certain facts in the affidavit filed in support of the revoke leave application, necessity arose for the respondents to file a counter affidavit setting out certain facts regarding the bank transactions, etc. Further, it is submitted that all transactions had happened within the jurisdiction of this Court, the plaintiff's Regional Office is in Saidapet, the address of the appellants 1 and 6 to 8 is in Chennai–600001, which is within the jurisdiction of this Court and since others were residing outside the jurisdiction of this Court, necessity arose for the respondent to file an application seeking leave to file a suit against them. Further, the first appellant filed a suit against the respondent in O.S.No.10 of 2016 before the Additional District Court, Ponneri, wherein the address given is Thamuchetty Street, Chennai-600001, which falls within the jurisdiction of this Court. Further, it is submitted that on instructions given from the plaintiff from its Regional Office at Saidapet, the first appellant having office at Chennai-600001 used to send their staff, namely, the 8th defendant to the plaintiff's factory at Gummidipoondi and after loading the goods, the first defendant would raise the bills based on lorry receipts from their office in Chennai-600 001 and based on the bills raised, the respondent/plaintiff will sanction the bills from its Regional Office at Saidapet.
6. The plaintiff's case is that presenting false lorry receipts the defendants fraudulently claimed excess bills and received excess amount which is the suit claim. Further, it is submitted that the appellants filed an application under Order XIV Rule 8 of the O.S. Rules r/w. Order VII Rule 10 CPC seeking an order from this Court to return the plaint in C.S.No.499 of 2018 and the application was dismissed and subsequently, the present application to revoke the leave was filed is absolutely without any basis and actually with an intention to drag on the matter. Further, it is submitted that the suit claim falls within the definition of commercial dispute as defined in Section 2(1)(c) of the Act 4 of 2016 and the plaintiff and the defendants have had commercial transactions for the past several years and the claim is based on commercial transactions between them and hence the commercial suit is filed under Proviso 1 of Section 7 of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015.
7. After we have elaborately heard the learned counsels for the parties and carefully perused the materials placed on record, we find that the admitted position is that the plaintiff's address given in the suit is at Saidapet which is within the jurisdiction of this Court. The address of the first appellant/first defendant is in Chennai-600 001 which is also within the jurisdiction of this Court. The appellants 6 to 8/defendants 6 to 8 who are the Zonal Manager, Senior Branch Manager and Loading Clerk of the first appellant are having their office in Chennai-600 001, within the jurisdiction of this Court. The learned Single Bench while considering the application for revocation of leave took note of the above undisputed facts and also that the contract was originally entered into between the plaintiff and the first defendant with their office at Thambuchetty Street, Chennai-600001, all lorry receipts were issued by the first appellant/first defendant and amounts have been transferred and routed through the bank situated in Chennai. That apart, the learned Single Bench noted the submissions made by the learned senior counsel for the appellants which submissions were reiterated before us and rightly pointed out the legal position that while considering the application for revocation of leave, the Court has to look into the pleadings contained in the plaint alone and the documents along with the plaint and no other documents or pleadings of the defendants cannot be looked into to decide whether or not cause of action had arisen within the jurisdiction of this Court. We have perused the pleadings as set out in the plaint wherein the first appellant Company is a transport organization and a contract was entered into between the plaintiff and the first defendant on 25.11.2008. However, the documents filed along with the plaint show that the agreements dated 25.11.2008 and 25.10.2009 were signed by the first appellant at Chennai within the jurisdiction of this Court and all the receipts have been found to be raised by the first appellant at Chennai. We agree with the finding rendered by the learned Single Bench that merely because the goods were transported from a place outside the jurisdiction of this Court, it cannot be stated that no part of cause of action arose within the jurisdiction of this Court.
8. The learned senior counsel appearing for the appellants submit that apart from looking into th
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e plaint averments and plaint documents, the learned Single Bench took note of an affidavit which was filed by the respondent which cannot be looked into while deciding the application for revocation of leave. A reading of the impugned order would show that it is on account of the submissions made by the appellants that all payments were routed through the bank situated within the jurisdiction of this Court, the Court by order dated 04.11.2019 directed an affidavit to be filed and on going through the affidavit, the learned Single Bench held that all the payments were routed through the bank situated in Chennai. Further, the bills for the lorry receipts were received from the Office of the first appellant which is situated in Chennai. Thus, we are of the considered view that the learned Single Bench was right in dismissing the application for revocation of leave and find no ground to interfere with the impugned order. Accordingly, the original side appeal fails and the same is dismissed. No costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petition is closed.