The question that falls for determination is; what is a suit of a civil nature? A suit is of a civil nature if the principal question in the suit relates to the determination of a civil right.
Thus, if the principal question in the suit is a caste question or a question relating to religious rites or ceremonies, the suit is not of a civil nature. In order to fall within the purview of the term “of a civil nature” the suit must be for the enforcement of rights and obligations of a citizen and not matters which are purely social.
The right vesting in a person by virtue of being a member of a caste or religious community would not be of a civil nature and the cognizance of the civil court would be barred to try a suit of such a nature.
But the Explanation to Section 9 shows that where a caste question or a question relating to religious rites or ceremonies is not the principal question in the suit and is only a subsidiary question and that the principal question is of a civil nature, viz., a right to property or to an office (even though no fees he attached to the office) the court has the power to determine the caste question or question relating to religious rites or ceremonies, to enable it to decide the principal question which is of civil nature.
The suit, in which the principal question, however, is a caste question or relates to religious rites or ceremonies are not a suit of a civil nature. Thus, expulsion of a member from the case involves the determination of a legal right and as such is a suit of civil nature within the cognizance of the civil court. But the exclusion of a member of a caste from invitation to caste dinners or ceremonies deprives him only of special privilege and is not a suit of a civil nature.
Where statutory enactments only create rights or liabilities without providing for remedies, any person having a grievance that he has been wronged or his right is being effected, can approach the ordinary civil court on the principle of law that where there is a right there is a remedy.— Ubi jus ibi remedium. [Shiv Kumar Chadha v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi, (1993) 3 S.C.C. 161)].