Supreme Court Judgment: Upholding Writ Jurisdiction in Chess Federation Dispute

In a landmark Supreme Court judgment, the writ jurisdiction was upheld in the dispute between the All India Chess Federation and the affiliated member. The Court’s decision to set aside the High Court’s ruling ensures a fair resolution in the Chess Federation matter. Stay tuned for more updates on this significant legal development.


  • The Appellant, affiliated member of the All India Chess Federation since 1978, was disaffiliated by a resolution passed on 25 December 2016.
  • The Appellant filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, impleading the All India Chess Federation as one of the respondents.
  • After the writ proceedings were instituted, the third Respondent was affiliated in place of the Appellant by the All India Chess Federation.
  • The All India Chess Federation, a society registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, is the central governing authority for chess in India.
  • The Bombay High Court interpreted Clause 21 as ousting the jurisdiction of all other courts except those in Chennai.
  • This clause impacted the jurisdiction of other courts in the country in terms of hearing disputes related to the agreement in question.
  • The Court clarified that only the courts in Chennai had the authority to hear cases regarding this specific agreement.
  • This interpretation was crucial in determining the scope and reach of Clause 21 in the legal context.

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  • Article 226 provides a constitutional remedy for violation or threat of violation of fundamental rights or legal rights.
  • Parties cannot exclude the writ jurisdiction of the High Court through a private agreement.
  • The decision to exercise the writ jurisdiction under Article 226 lies with the High Court.
  • The High Court erred in holding that Clause 21 of the Constitution and Bye Laws of the second Respondent barred the exercise of writ jurisdiction.
  • The High Court did not hold that there was an ouster of its jurisdiction
  • It was not appropriate to exercise the writ jurisdiction when parties had agreed to submit their disputes for resolution before the courts at Chennai
  • The High Court, in its discretion, declined to entertain the Writ Petition
  • Constitution and Bye Laws of the second Respondent are a private agreement between the Appellant and the second Respondent

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  • Parties cannot by contract exclude the jurisdiction of all courts, as per well-settled contract law principles.
  • Contracts conferring jurisdiction on one court to the exclusion of all others do not oust the jurisdiction of all courts.
  • High Court’s writ jurisdiction is discretionary and crucial for ensuring the rule of law.
  • Powers of the High Court under its writ jurisdiction are broad and conferred in aid of justice.
  • No limitations can be placed on the High Court’s powers in the exercise of its writ jurisdiction.
  • The writ jurisdiction of a High Court can be exercised even when alternative remedies exist.
  • Contracts in restraint of legal proceedings contravene Section 28 of the Indian Contract Act 1872.
  • The High Court’s decision to exercise its writ jurisdiction is discretionary and can be based on specific circumstances.
  • Courts have imposed constraints on their writ jurisdiction to prevent it from becoming an appellate mechanism for all disputes.
  • Where several courts have jurisdiction, parties can agree to bring a suit exclusively before one court, in accordance with the Indian Contract Act 1872.
  • The intention behind statutory appeal mechanisms is to ensure the speedy disposal of cases, which could be defeated if exclusive jurisdiction contracts are enforced.
  • The writ jurisdiction of High Courts is crucial for upholding the rule of law under the Constitution.
  • High Courts must consider various factors before engaging their writ jurisdiction.
  • The High Court’s decision to exercise or refuse to exercise writ jurisdiction is self-imposed.
  • Alternate remedies, whether constitutional, statutory, or contractual, are factors to be considered but not absolute bars to writ jurisdiction.
  • The High Court must holistically examine each case to determine the exercise of its writ jurisdiction.
  • Parties cannot confer jurisdiction on a court that lacks the authority to adjudicate.
  • Private agreements cannot completely exclude the writ jurisdiction of a High Court.
  • The existence of an alternate adequate remedy is just one factor for High Courts to consider in deciding on writ jurisdiction.
  • Courts must make a holistic judgment on the facts and circumstances of a case before deciding on writ jurisdiction.
  • The High Court should not interfere in the discretion of the High Court in determining when to engage its writ jurisdiction unless exercised arbitrarily or erroneously.
  • The Bombay High Court’s sole reliance on Clause 21 of the Constitution and Bye Laws to oust its jurisdiction under Article 226 was considered an arbitrary or erroneous exercise of discretion.

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  • The appeal was allowed and the impugned judgment and order of the High Court dated 25 September 2018 were set aside.
  • Writ Petition No 7770 of 2017 was restored to the file of the High Court for being considered afresh.
  • No costs were awarded.


Case Number: C.A. No.-005654-005654 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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