The Calcutta High Court (Jurisdictional Limits) Act, 1919

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The Calcutta High Court Act was enacted during the British period with the name and title as ‘the Calcutta High Court (Jurisdictional Limits) Act, 1919’ (Act no. 15 of 1919). In so far as the purpose of the Act is concerned, it was given that the Act is to declare and prescribe the ordinary original Civil Jurisdiction of the High Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal. The Act received the assent of the Governor General in Council, on 17th day of September, 1919. The Act was in pursuance with the Letters Patent dated 28th December, 1865 where Clause 11 was providing that the said High Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal, should have the jurisdiction being ordinary original civil jurisdiction within the areas and local limits as per any law and declaration thereof.

In the historical aspect of the High Courts in India during the British period, the said Calcutta High Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal, was one of the oldest and is also one out of the Three Chartered High Courts set in India including the High Court of Bombay and High Court of Madras. The Calcutta High Court was brought into existence by the Letters Patent dated 14th May, 1862, which was issued under the High Court’s Act, 1861, where jurisdiction and powers of the High Court were to be defined by Letters Patent. And the said High Court was formally opened on 1st day of July, 1862. It has jurisdiction over the State of West Bengal and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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The provisions of this Act are divided into only two sections and a Schedule, which is most important as it is specifying the local limits of the ordinary original jurisdiction of the said High Court. The first section provides for the short titling of the Act which is as above mentioned. But, the most significant provisions are contained under section 2, as it is dealing with the local limits of ordinary original jurisdiction of the High Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal. It is given that the said limits of ordinary and original jurisdiction will be as such as it is given under the Schedule annexed to the Act. However, the provision makes it very clear that, though the ordinary original jurisdiction of said Court is defined under this Act, but the same will not result in affecting any suits or other legal proceedings which were pending in any Court at the same time of commencement of this Act. The Schedule provides for extension of the local or territorial, ordinary original civil Jurisdiction of the High Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal, throughout all the four sides. A detailed extension is clearly given under the Schedule annexed to this present Act.

The Present Act was recommended for its repeal in toto by the P C Jain Commission’s Report (Appendix- C), however, the said recommendation was considered by the Government as such the repealing not undertaken.

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Read the Bare Act: The Calcutta High Court (Jurisdictional Limits) Act, 1919

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