Jurisdiction (from the Latin ius, iuris meaning “law” and dicere meaning “to speak”) is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility. The term is also used to denote the geographical area or subject-matter to which such authority applies.
Jurisdiction draws its substance from public international law, conflict of laws, constitutional law and the powers of the executive and legislative branches of government to allocate resources to best serve the needs of its native society.
The District Court or Additional District court exercises jurisdiction both on original and appellate side in civil and criminal matters arising in the District. The territorial and pecuniary jurisdiction in civil matters is usually set in concerned state enactments on the subject of civil courts. On the criminal side jurisdiction is almost exclusively derived from code of criminal procedure. This code sets the maximum sentence which a district court may award which currently is capital punishment.
The court exercises appellate jurisdiction over all subordinate courts in the district on both civil and criminal matters. These subordinate courts usually consist of a Junior Civil Judge court, Principal Junior civil Judge court, Senior civil judge court (often called sub court)in the order of ascendancy on the civil side and the Judicial Magistrate Court of IInd Class, Judicial Magistrate Court of Ist class, Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in the order of ascendancy on the criminal side.
Certain matters on criminal or civil side cannot be tried by a court inferior in jurisdiction to a district court if the particular enactment makes a provision to the effect. This gives the District Court original jurisdiction in such matters.
Appeals from the district courts lie to the High court of the concerned state.
Jurisdiction Of Civil Courts In India
Jurisdiction of civil courts can be divided on two basis.
Territorial / Area Wise Classification
Pecuniary jurisdiction of the court divides the court on a vertical basis.
At present the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Delhi courts is as follows:
· Suits amounting to Rs.1 – Rs.20, 00,000 lie before district courts.
· Suits over and above Rs. 20,00,000/- lie before High Courts.
It is very important to note that the amount of pecuniary jurisdiction is different for all High Courts. This limit is decided by respective High Court Rules.
In many states High court has no pecuniary jurisdiction. All civil suits go before District Courts, and only appeal lies before High Court
Territorial Jurisdiction divides the courts on a horizontal basis.
For example in Delhi, there are three District level courts, viz. Patiala House, Tis Hazari and Karakardooma. All these courts have nearly same powers. However, being on a same horizontal line, these courts are divided territory wise, i.e. area wise. Again for example, cases pertaining to South Delhi, New Delhi and West Delhi will lie before Patiala House, and North Delhi cases will lie before Tis Hazari, and cases pertaining to East Delhi will lie before Karakardooma.
Similarly High Court of two different states, say Delhi, and Punjab may have similar powers in their respective states, but are divided on the basis of area. Cases pertaining to Delhi will lie before Delhi High court and cases pertaining to Punjab will lie before Punjab High Court.
How Is Territory Decided?:
Territory of a court is decided after taking into account several factors. They are:
In Case Of Immovable Property:
If the suit is with regard to recovery, rent, partition, sale, redemption, determination of right of immovable property, it shall be instituted in the court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the property is situated.
Immovable Property Situated Within The Jurisdiction of Different Courts: In such a case the suit may be instituted in any court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction any portion of the property is situated.
In Case Of Dispute Between Two Or More Persons With Respect To Movable Property, Business Or Any Other Wrong Done:
Where a wrong has been caused to a person, or any damage has been caused to a movable property, then the suit may be instituted either,
· In the place, where wrong or damage has been caused, or
· In the place, where defendant (the person who caused the loss) resides.
Where there is a dispute in business, agreement or any other kind of civil dispute, except matrimonial matter, then the suit may be instituted either,
· In a place, where the defendant resides, or carries on business, or
· In a place, where the cause of action has arisen, i.e. where the dispute or wrong took place
In Case Of Matrimonial Dispute:
Where a dispute arises between Husband and wife inregard to their marital life then the case may be filed either:
· In the place where marriage was solemnized, or ;
· In the place, where opposite party is residing, or;
· In the place, where Husband and Wife last resided together, or;
· In the place, where person filing the case is residing, provided that.
Opposite party has not been heard of as alive for the last Seven years, or
Opposite party resides outside the jurisdiction of Hindu Marriage Act 1955
Courts may also have jurisdiction that is exclusive, or concurrent (shared). Where a court has exclusive jurisdiction over a territory or a subject matter, it is the only court that is authorized to address that matter. Where a court has concurrent or shared jurisdiction, more than one court can adjudicate the matter.
International And Municipal Jurisdiction
The fact that international organizations, courts and tribunals have been created raises the difficult question of how to co-ordinate their activities with those of national courts. If the two sets of bodies do not have concurrent jurisdiction but, as in the case of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the relationship is expressly based on the principle of complementarily, i.e. the international court is subsidiary or complementary to national courts, the difficulty is avoided. But if the jurisdiction claimed is concurrent, or as in the case of International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the international tribunal is to prevail over national courts, the problems are more difficult to resolve politically.
The idea of universal jurisdiction is fundamental to the operation of global organizations such as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which jointly assert the benefit of maintaining legal entities with jurisdiction over a wide range of matters of significance to states (the ICJ should not be confused with the ICC and this version of “universal jurisdiction” is not the same as that enacted in the War Crimes Law (Belgium) which is an assertion of extraterritorial jurisdiction that will fail to gain implementation in any other state under the standard provisions of public policy). Under Article 34 Statute of the ICJ only states may be parties in cases before the Court and, under Article 36, the jurisdiction comprises all cases which the parties refer to it and all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in treaties and conventions in force. But, to invoke the jurisdiction in any given case, all the parties have to accept the prospective judgment as binding. This reduces the risk of wasting the Court’s time.
Despite the safeguards built into the constitutions of most of these organizations, courts and tribunals, the concept of universal jurisdiction is controversial among those states which prefer unilateral to multilateral solutions through the use of executive or military authority, sometimes described as realpolitik-based diplomacy.
Jurisdiction Of Civil Court Under Civil Procedure Code
Section 9 of CPC deals with the jurisdiction of civil courts in India. It says that the courts shall (subject to the provisions herein contained) have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature excepting suits of which their cognizance is either expressly or impliedly barred.
Explanation I- a suit in which the right to property or to an office is contested is a suit or a civil nature, notwithstanding that such right may depend entirely on the decision of questions as to religious rites or ceremonies.
Explanation II- for the purpose of this section, it is immaterial whether or not any fees are attached to the office referred to in explanation I or whether or not such office is attached to a particular place.
A civil court has jurisdiction to try a suit if two conditions are fulfilled:
The suit must be of a civil nature; and
The cognizance of such a suit should not have been expressly or impliedly barred.
a) suit of civil nature
i. meaning:- in order that a civil court may have jurisdiction to try a suit, the first condition which must be satisfied is that the suit must be of a civil nature? The word ‘civil’ has not been defined in the code. But according to the dictionary meaning, it pertains to private rights and remedies of a citizen as distinguished from criminal, political, etc. the word ‘nature’has been defined as ‘the fundamental qualities of a person or thing; identity or issential character; sort, kind, character’’. It is thus wider in content. The expression ‘civil nature’ is wider than the expression ‘civil proceedings’. Thus, a suit is of a civil is of a nature if the principal question therein relates to the determination of a civil right and enforcement thereof. It is not the status of the parties to the suit, but the subject matter of it which determines whether or not the suit is of a civil nature.
ii. Nature and scope- the expression “suit of a civil nature” will cover private rights and obligations of a citizen. Political and religious questions are not covered by that expression. A suit in which the principal question relates to caste or religion is not a suit of a civil nature. But if the principal question in a suit is of a civil nature (the right to property or to an office) and the adjudication incidentally involves the determination relating to a caste question or to religious rights and ceremonies, it does not cease to be a suit of a civil nature and the jurisdiction of a civil court is not barred. The court has jurisdiction to adjudicate upon those questions also in order to decide the principal question which is of a civil nature. Explanation II has been added by the amendment act of 1976. before this explanation, there was a divergence of judicial opinion as to whether a suit relating to a religious office to which no fees or emoluments were attached can be said to be a suit of a civil nature. But the legal position has now been clarified by explanation II which specifically provides that a suit relating to a religious office is maintainable whether or not it carries any fees or whether or not it is attached to a particular place.
iii. Doctrine explained- explaining the concept of jurisdiction of civil courts under section 9, in PMA Metropolitan v. M.M. Marthoma, the supreme court stated:
“the expensive nature of the section is demonstrated by use of phraseology both positive and negative. The earlier part opens the door widely and latter debars entry to only those which are expressly or impliedly barred. The two explanations, one existing from inception and later added in 1976, bring out clearly the legislative intention of extending operation of the section to religious matters where right to property or office is involved irrespective of whether any fee is attached to the office or not. The language used is simple but explicit and clear. It is structured on the basic of a civilized jurisprudence that absence of machinery for enforcement of right renders it nugatory. The heading which is normally a key to the section brings out unequivocally that all civil suits are cognizable unless bared. What is meant by it is explained further by widening the ambit of the section by use of the word ‘shall’ and the expression ‘all suits of a civil nature unless expressly or impliedly barred’.
Each word and expression casts an obligation on the court to exercise jurisdiction for enforcement of rights. The word shall makes it mandatory. No court can refuse to entertain a suit if it is of the description mentioned in the section. That is amplified by the use of the expression. ‘ all suits of civil nature’. The word civil according to the dictionary means, relating to the citizen as an individual; civil rights.’ In Black’s legal dictionary it is defined as, ‘ relating to provide rights and remedies sought by civil actions as contrasted with criminal proceedings’. In law it is understood as an antonym of criminal. Historically the two broad classifications were civil and criminal. Revenue, tax and company etc. were added to it later. But they too pertain to the larger family of civil. There is thus no doubt about the width of the word civil. Its width has been stretched further by using the word nature along with it. That is even those suits are cognizable which are not only civil but are even of civil nature….
The word ‘nature’ has defined as ‘the fundamental qualities of a person or thing; identity or essential character, sort;kind;charachter’. It is thus wider in content. The word ‘civil nature’ is wider that the word ‘civil proceeding’. The section would, therefore, be available in every case where the dispute was of the characteristics of affecting one’s rights which are not only civil but of civil nature.”
iv. Test: a suit in which the right to property or to an office is contested is a suit of a civil nature, notwithstanding that such right may depend entirely on the decision of a question as to religious rites or ceremonies.
v. Suits of civil nature: illustrations- the following are suits of a civil nature.
1. suits relating to rights to property;
2. suits relating to rights of worship;
3. suits relating to taking out of religious procession;
4. suits relating to right to share in offerings;
5. suits for damages for civil wrongs;
6. suits for specific performance of contracts or for damages for breach of contracts;
7. suits for specific relief’s;
8. suits for restitution of conjugal rights;
9. suits for dissolution of marriages;
10. suits for rent;
11. suits for or on account;
12. suits for rights of franchise;
13. suits for rights to hereditary offices;
14. suits for rights to Yajmanvritis;
15. suits against wrongful dismissal from service and for salaries, etc.
vi. suits not of civil nature- illustrations- the following are not suits of a civil nature:
1. suits involving principally caste questions;
2. suits involving purely religious rites or ceremonies;
3. suits for upholding mere dignity or honor;
4. suits for recovery of voluntary payments or offerings;
5. suits against expulsions from caste, etc.
b. cognizance not barred
as stated above, a litigant having a grievance of a civil nature has a right to institute a civil suit unless its cognizance is barred, either expressly or impliedly.
i. Suits expressly barred- a suit is said to be ‘expressly barred ’ when it is barred by any enactment for the time being in force. It is open to a competent legislature to bar jurisdiction of civil courts with respect to a particular class of suits of a civil nature, provided that, in doing so, it keeps itself within the field of legislation conferred on it and does not contravene any provision of the constitution.
But every presumption should be made in favor of the jurisdiction of a civil court and the provision of exclusion of jurisdiction of a court must be strictly construed. If there is any doubt about the ousting of jurisdiction of a civil court, the court will lean to an interpretation which would maintain the jurisdiction. Thus, matters falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of revenue courts or under the code of criminal procedure or matters dealt with by special tribunals under the relevant statutes, e.g. by industrial tribunal, income tax tribunal, revenue tribunal, electronic tribunal, rent tribunal, cooperative tribunal, motor accident claims tribunal, etc. or by domestic tribunals, e.g. Bar Council, Medical Council, university, club etc. are expressly barred from the cognizance of a civil court. But if the remedy provided by a statute is not adequate and all questions cannot be decided by a special tribunal, the jurisdiction of a civil court is not barred. Similarly, when a court of limited jurisdiction prima facie and incidentally states something, the jurisdiction of a civil court to finally decide the time is not ousted.
ii. Suits impliedly barred- a suit is said to be impliedly barred when it is barred by general principles of law.
Where a specific remedy is given by a statute, it thereby deprives the person who insists upon a remedy of any other form than that given by the statute. Where an act creates an obligation and enforces its performance in a specified manner, that performance cannot be enforced in any other manner.
Similarly, certain suits, though of a civil nature, are barred from thee cognizance of a civil court on the ground of public policy. “the principle underlying is that a court ought not to countenance matters which are injurious to and against the public weal.” Thus, no suit shall lie for recovery of costs incurred in criminal prosecution
or for enforcement of a right upon a contract hit by section 23 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872;
or against any judge for acts done in the course of his duties.
Likewise, political questions belong to the domain of public administrative law and are outside the jurisdiction of civil courts. A civil court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon disputes of a political nature.
Who may decide?
It is well settled that a civil court has inherited power to decide its own jurisdiction.
Presumption as to jurisdiction
In dealing with the question whether a civil court’s jurisdiction to entertain a suit is barred or not, it is necessary to bear in mind that every presumption should be made in favor of the jurisdiction of a civil court. The exclusion of jurisdiction of a civil court to entertain civil causes should not be readily inferred unless the relevant statute contains an express provision to that effect, or leads to a necessary and inevitable implication of the nature.
Burden of proof
It is well- settled that it is for the party who seeks to oust the jurisdiction of a civil court to establish it. It is equally well settled that a statute ousting the jurisdiction of a civil court must be strictly construed. Where such a contention is raised, it has to be determined in the light of the words used in the statute, the scheme of the relevant provisions and the object and purpose of the enactment. In the case of a doubt as to jurisdiction, the court should lean towards the assumption of jurisdiction. A civil court has inherent power to decide the question of its own jurisdiction; although as a result of such inquiry it may turn out that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
Exclusion of jurisdiction: limitations
A litigation having a grievance of a civil nature has, independent of any statute, a right to institute a suit in a civil court unless its cognizance is either expressly or impliedly barred. The exclusion of the jurisdiction of a civil court is not to be readily inferred and such exclusion must be clear.
Again, even when the jurisdiction of a civil court is barred, either expressly or by necessary implication, it cannot be said that the jurisdiction is altogether excluded. A court has jurisdiction to examine whether the provisions of the act and the rules made thereunder have or have not been complied with, or the order is contrary to law, malafide, ultra vires, perverse, arbitrary, ‘purported’, violative of the principles of natural justice, or is based on ‘no evidence’ and so on. In all these cases, the order cannot be said to be under the act but is de hors the act and the jurisdiction of a civil court is not ousted. In the leading decision of Secretary of State v. Mask & Co., the Privy Council rightly observed:
“it is settled law that the exclusion of the jurisdiction of the civil court is not to be readily inferred, but that such exclusion must either be explicitly expressed or clearly implied. It is also well established that even if jurisdiction is so excluded the civil courts have jurisdiction to examine into cases where the provisions of the act have not been complied with, or the statutory tribunal has not acted in conformity with the fundamental principles of judicial procedure.”
It is respectfully submitted that the following observations of Subba Rao, J.(as he then was) in the leading case of Radha Kishan v. Ludhiyana Municipality lay down the correct legal position regarding jurisdiction of civil courts and require to be produced:
“under section 9 of the civil procedure code the court shall have jurisdiction to try all suits of civil nature excepting suits of which cognizance is either expressly or impliedly barred. A statute, therefore, expressly or by necessary implication can bar the jurisdiction of civil courts in respect of a particular matter. The mere conferment of special jurisdiction on a tribunal in respect of the said matter does not in itself exclude the jurisdiction of civil courts. The statute may specifically provide for ousting the jurisdiction of civil courts; even if there was no such specific exclusion, if it creates liability not existing before and gives a special and particular remedy for the aggrieved party, the remedy provided by it must be followed. The same principle would apply if the statute had provided for the particular forum in which the remedy could be had. Even in such cases, the civil court’s jurisdiction is not completely ousted. A suit in a civil court will always lie to question the order of a tribunal created by statute, even if its order is, expressly or by necessary implication, made final, if the said tribunal abuses its power or does not act under the act but in violation of its provisions.”
Exclusion of jurisdiction of civil court: principles
From the above discussion it is clear that the jurisdiction of civil courts is all- embracing except to the extent it is excluded by law or by clear intendment arising from such law.
In the classic decision of Dhulabhai v. State of M.P., after considering a number of cases, Hidyatullah, C.J. summarized the following principles relating to the exclusion of jurisdiction of civil courts:
a. Where a statute gives finality to orders of special tribunals, the civil courts jurisdiction must be held to be excluded if there is adequate remedy to do what the civil courts would normally do in a suit. Such a provision, however, does not exclude those cases where the provisions of a particular act have not been complied with or the statutory tribunal has not acted in conformity with fundamental principles of judicial procedure.
b. Where there is an express bar of jurisdiction of a court, an examination of the scheme of a particular act to find the adequate or sufficiency of the remedies provided may be relevant but this is not decisive for sustaining the jurisdiction of a civil court.
Where there is no express exclusion, the examination of the remedies and the scheme of a particular act to find out the intendment becomes necessary and the result of the inquiry may be decisive. In the latter case, it is necessary to see if a statute creates a special right or a liability and provides for the determination of the right or liability and further lays down that all questions about the said right and liability shall be determined by tribunals so constituted, and whether remedies normally associated with actions in civil courts are prescribed by the said statute or not.
c. challenge to the provisions of a particular act as ultra vires cannot be brought before tribunals constituted under that act. Even the high court cannot go into that question on a revision or reference from decisions of tribunals.
d. When a provision is already declared unconstitutional or the constitutionality of any provisions is to be challenged, a suit is open. A writ of certiorari may include a direction for refund if the claim is clearly within the time prescribed by the limitation act but it is not a compulsory remedy to replace a suit.
e. Where the particular act contains no machinery for refund of tax collected in excess of constitutional limits or is illegally collected, a suit lies.
f. Questions of the correctness of an assessment, apart from its constitutionality, are for the decision of the authorized and a civil suit does not lie if the orders of the authorities are declared to be final or there is an express prohibition in a particular act. In either case, the scheme of a particular act must be examined because it is a relevant enquiry.
g. An exclusion of jurisdiction of a civil court is not readily to be inferred unless the conditions above set down apply.
The above principles enunciated are relevant in deciding the correctness or otherwise of assessment orders made under taxing statutes.
In Premier Automobiles v. K.S. Wadke, the supreme court laid down the following principles as applicable to the jurisdiction of a civil court in relation to industrial disputes:
h. If a dispute is not an industrial dispute, nor does it relate to enforcement of any other right under the act, the remedy lies only in a civil court.
i. If a dispute is an industrial dispute arising out of a right or liability under the general or common law and not under the act, the jurisdiction of a civil court is alternative, leaving it to the election of a suitor or person concerned to choose his remedy for the relief which is competent to be granted in a particular remedy.
j. If an industrial dispute relates to the enforcement of a right or an obligation created under the act, then the only remedy available to suitor is to get adjudication under the act.
k. If the right which is sought to be enforced is a right created under the act such as chapter V- A, then the remedy for its enforcement is either section 33-C or the raising of an industrial dispute, as the case may be.
Again, in Rajasthan State Road Transport Corpn. V.Krishna Kant, after considering various leading decisions on the point, the Supreme Court summarized the principles applicable to industrial disputes thus:
1. where a dispute arises from the general law of contract, i.e., where relief’s are claimed on the basis of the general law of contract, a suit filed in a civil court cannot be said to be not maintainable, even though such a dispute may also constitute an “industrial dispute” within the meaning of section 2 (k) or section 2-A of the industrial Dispute Act,1947.
2. where, however, a dispute involves recognition, observance or enforcement of any of the rights or obligations created by the the industrial Dispute Act, the only remedy is to approach the famous created by the said act.
3. similarly, where a dispute involves the recognition, observance or enforcement of rights and obligations created by enactments, like the industrial employment (standing order) act, 1946- which can be called “sister enactments’ to the industrial dispute act- and which do not provide a forum for resolution of such disputes, the only remedy shall be to approach the forums created by the industrial dispute act provided they constitute industrial disputes within the meaning of section 2(k) and section 2-A of the industrial dispute act or where such enactments says that such dispute shall be adjudicated by any of the forums created by the industrial disputes act. Otherwise, recourse to a civil court is open.
4. it is not correct to say that remedies provided by the industrial disputes act are not equally effective for the reason that access to a forum depends upon a reference being made by the appropriate government. The power to make a reference conferred upon the government is to be exercised to effectuate the object of the enactment and hence is not unguided. The rule is to make a reference unless, of course, the dispute raised is a totally frivolous one ex facie. The power conferred is the power to refer and not the power to decide, though it may be that the government is entitled to examine whether the dispute is ex facie frivolous, not meriting adjudication.
5. consistent with the policy of law aforesaid, we commend to parliament and state legislature to make a provision enabling a workman to approach the labor court- i.e., without the requirement of a reference by the government- in case of industrial dispute covered by section 2-A of the industrial disputes act. This would go a long way in removing the misgiving with respect to the effectiveness of the remedies provided by the industrial disputes act.
6. the certified standing orders framed in accordance with the industrial dispute act and its sister enactment is to provide an alternative dispute- resolution mechanism to workmen, a mechanism which is speedy, inexpensive, informal and unencumbered by the plethora of procedural laws and appeals upon appeals and revisions applicable to civil courts. Indeed, the powers of courts and tribunals under the industrial disputes act are far more extensive in the sense that they can grant such relief as they think appropriate in the circumstances for putting an end to an industrial dispute.
Very recently, in Chandrakant Tukaram v. Municipla Corporation of Ahmedabad, the supreme court reiterated the principles laid down in earlier decisions and stated:
“it cannot be disputed that the procedure followed by civil courts are too lengthy and, consequently, are not an efficacious forum for resolving the industrial disputes speedily. The power of the industrial courts also is wide and such forums are empowered to grant adequate relief as they just and appropriate. It is in the interest of the workmen that their disputes, including the dispute of illegal termination, are adjudicated upon by an industrial forum.”
From various decisions of the Supreme Court, the following general principles relating to jurisdiction of a civil court emerge:
a. a civil court has jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature unless their cognizance is barred either expressly or impliedly.
b. Consent can neither confer nor take away jurisdiction of a court.
c. A decree passed by a court without jurisdiction is a nullity and the validity thereof can be challenged at any stage of the proceedings, in execution proceedings or even in collateral proceedings.
d. There is a distinction between want of jurisdiction and irregular exercise thereof.
e. Every court has inherent power to decide the question of its own jurisdiction.
f.Jurisdiction of a court depends upon the averments made in a plaint and not upon the defense in a written statement.
g. For deciding jurisdiction of a court, substance of a matter and not its form is important.
h. Every presumption should be made in favor of jurisdiction of a civil court.
i. A statute ousting jurisdiction of a court must be strictly construed.
j.Burden of proof of exclusion of jurisdiction of a court is on the party who asserts it.
k. Even where jurisdiction of a civil court is barred, it can still decide whether the provisions of an act have been complied with or whether an order was passed de hors the provisions of law.
From the above contents of my project it can be concluded that section 9 at ‘the threshold of the Civil Procedure Code (C.P.C.) primarily deals with the question of civil court’s jurisdiction to entertain a cause. It lays down that subject to what are contained in section 10,11, 12, 13, 47, 66, 83, 84, 91, 92, 115, etc., civil court has jurisdiction to entertain a suit of civil nature except when its cognizance is expressly barred or barred by necessary implication. civil court has jurisdiction to decide the question of its jurisdiction although as a result of the enquiry it may eventually turn out that it has no jurisdiction over the matter. Civil court has jurisdiction to examine whether tribunal and quasi- judicial bodies or statutory authority acted within there jurisdiction. But once it is found that such authority, e.g., certificate officer had initial jurisdiction, then any erroneous order by him is not open to collateral attack in a suit. Because there is an essential and marked distinction between the cases in which courts lack jurisdiction to try cases and where jurisdiction is irregularly exercised by courts.