Trivedi and Parashar (Advocates and Solicitors)
III. TESTS TO DETERMINE, IF CAUSE OF ACTION HAS ARISEN WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE HIGH COURT.
In the matter of State of Goa vs Summit Online Trade Solutions (P) Ltd. [2023 SCC OnLine SC 254], the Appellant issued a notification under the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017(“Act”). As per the notification, the Respondent, who is a private limited company engaged in the business of purchase and sale of lottery, run and organized in the States of Sikkim, Punjab, Goa, and Maharashtra, was mandated to pay tax @ 14% to the State of Goa.
Aggrieved by the notification, the Respondent filed a Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India before the Sikkim High Court to seek a declaration that the impugned notification is unconstitutional and illegal. On the issue of maintainability, the Respondent argued that the Sikkim High Court has jurisdiction over the matter because a portion of the cause of action arose in Sikkim. Consequently, the State of Goa applied for its deletion from the list of Respondents. The Sikkim High Court dismissed the application of the Appellant. Aggrieved by the dismissal, the Appellant preferred a petition before the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court after considering all the facts and arguments observed that except for a statement that both the Appellant and the Respondent are located within the territorial jurisdiction of the Sikkim High Court, no other pleading is there in the Writ Petition filed by the Respondent. The Supreme Court relied upon the definition given by Lord Brett in Cooke vs Gill [(1873) 8 CP 107] that “cause of action means every fact which it would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove if traversed, to support his right to the judgment of the court”. Furthermore, the Supreme Court observed that “Here, tax has been levied by the Government of Goa in respect of a business that the petitioning company is carrying on within the territory of Goa. Such tax is payable by the petitioning company not in respect of carrying on any business in the territory of Sikkim. Hence, merely because the petitioning company has its office in Gangtok, Sikkim, the same by itself does not form an integral part of the cause of action authorizing the petitioning company to move the High Court”. The Supreme Court of India held that the Sikkim High Court erred in dismissing the application filed by the Appellant.