FORUM CONVENIENS


INTRODUCTION


Any suit can be filed within the appropriate court having jurisdiction. Jurisdiction means having the power to hear and determine issues of law and fact. Jurisdiction can be outlined as the limit of a judicial authority or the extent to that a court of law will exercise its authority over suits, cases, appeals, etc. The principle behind introducing the thought of jurisdiction in law is that a court should be able to attempt to adjudicate solely in those matters with which it has some association or that fall within the geographical or political or pecuniary limits of its authority. Jurisdiction is of varied varieties viz., territorial jurisdiction, pecuniary jurisdiction, original jurisdiction, appellate jurisdiction, etc. Any suit filed can have a mixture of original jurisdiction, territorial jurisdiction, and pecuniary jurisdiction. In Original jurisdiction, the suit should be filed within the court that is the lowest in the hierarchy. In pecuniary jurisdiction, the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the amount concerned within the suit. The territorial jurisdiction of the court is considered based on the place where the cause of action arises either entirely or partially. In some cases, more than one court may have the territorial jurisdiction to try a case. In such cases, the doctrine of forum conveniens is invoked. The forum conveniens is that, which has the jurisdiction convenient to all in order to determine the case.

In Black's Law dictionary, ''forum conveniens' has been outlined as follows: "The court within which an action is most suitably brought, considering the best interests and convenience of the parties and witnesses."

In Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd[1], the Supreme Court ascertained that though a part of the cause of action has arisen with the territorial jurisdiction of a high court, still, it will continue in declining to entertain the writ petition by invoking the doctrine of ''forum conveniens'. The idea of forum conveniens means it's obligatory on the part of the court to check the convenience of all the parties before it. The convenience in its scope and sweep would come with the existence of a lot of appropriate forum, expenses concerned, the law regarding the lis, verification of certain facts that are impoverished for just adjudication of the controversy, and such different auxiliary aspects. The balance of convenience is added to be taken note of. Be it noted, the Apex Court has declared in the cases of Kusum Ingots[2], concerning the applicability of the doctrine of forum conveniens, whereas the cause of action can be checked whether to entertain the writ petition as maintainable or not.

India TV Independent News Service (P) Ltd., V. India Broadcast Live LLC & others[3] the Delhi High Court held that the legal position as regards forum non-conveniens is that a stay the ground of forum non-conveniens would be granted wherever a court is satisfied that there's another accessible forum having jurisdiction. Also, the plaintiff's selection of forum is typically not disturbed unless the balance of convenience is powerfully in favour of the defendant. In deciding whether or not a more appropriate forum exists, connecting factors, like those affecting the convenience of parties, expenses concerned, and therefore the law governing relevant transactions are to be looked into. The mere indisputable fact that a part of the cause of action has arisen among the jurisdiction of the court might itself not be considered to be a determinative issue conflicting the court to determine the matter on merits. While deciding the case it has to be seen that forum conveniens in a given matter is as per the convenience of all the parties[4].


DOCTRINE OF FORUM NON CONVENIENS


The doctrine of forum non-conveniens originated in Scotland and thenceforth dropped in England and the United State of America, simply put implies that if legal proceedings are initiated in a very explicit forum and that forum thinks that there's a lot of convenient forum where such lis ought to be tried, it desists from attempting the particular lis. Forum non-conveniens may be a discretionary power that enables courts to dismiss a case wherever another court, or forum, is way higher suited to listen to the case. This dismissal doesn't prevent a litigator from re-filing his or her case within the more appropriate forum.

The object of the doctrine of Forum Non-Conveniens is "to realize that forum that is the more appropriate for trying the suit to satisfy the ends of justice, and is preferable because the pursuit of the litigation therein forum is more likely to secure those ends. The burden lies on the defendant to show that there exists another forum that is more appropriate to try the action.

The doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens was recognized in English law within the case of The Atlantic Star Vs. Bona Specs[5]by the House of Lords. The Latin tag Forum Non-Conveniens is employed to explain the principle that regardless of the fact that an action has been properly brought before the Court having appropriate jurisdiction, the Court has the power to stay the action as there exists another court having competent jurisdiction which is clearly and distinctly more acceptable to listen to and verify the dispute in respect of which the action was brought among its jurisdiction.

The doctrine of forum conveniens will be invoked solely wherever the Court having jurisdiction decides to not exercise jurisdiction by invoking the doctrine forum conveniens. The invocation of the doctrine of forum conveniens or forum non-conveniens pre-supposes that the Court refusing to entertain a case on the idea of this doctrine, otherwise has jurisdiction. The argument of forum non-conveniens can't be raised in conjunction with the argument of lack of jurisdiction or forum non competes. The doctrine would be accessible solely in a case wherever though the Court has jurisdiction however an adequate different forum is additionally offered.

Anuradha vs. Divyanshu Gautam[6]in the following the court before which the matter is being conferred, refused to entertain the same and directs the parties to refer to another court which is a more appropriate and convenient forum. It should even be kept in mind that the Court granting an anti-suit injunction should otherwise have jurisdiction over the matter. Similarly, the Court rejecting a matter on the principle of forum non conveniens, should otherwise have jurisdiction to entertain the same. This is often so as a result if the Court, in either case, doesn't have jurisdiction then, it will neither grant the injunction nor it can deal with the matter and no order can be passed for refusing to listen to the matter on the plea of forum non conveniens.


CONCLUSION


In a case where the required ingredients of the territorial jurisdiction don't seem to be satisfied, the Court might not assume jurisdiction just on the ground of the residence. The doctrine of forum conveniens and forum non-conveniens would be a relevant issue for the Court to look at whether the claim ought to or mustn't be entertained for the reason that there's another more acceptable forum. This doctrine would, however, not be the determinative issue and during a case wherever no fraction or perhaps a small part of the cause of action has arisen among its territorial limits the jurisdiction of the Court might not be invoked.


[1] AIR 2004 SC 2321 [2] Ibid [3] (2008) 22 CLA BL Supp 37 (Del) [4] GOVINDARAJAN, M., 2021. DOCTRINE OF FORUM CONVENIENS. [online] Taxmanagementindia.com. Available at: <https://www.taxmanagementindia.com/visitor/detail_article.asp?ArticleID=377> [Accessed 12 February 2021]. [5] (1974) AC 436 [6] CS No.564/2015

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