LS passes bill for speedy disposal of commercial disputes

A bill to amend the law for the speedy disposal of commercial disputes and seeking to reduce the pecuniary jurisdiction of commercial courts from Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 lakh was passed by the Lok Sabha

Replying to the debate on the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “this bill is a larger narrative pursuance to ensuring India’s performance in the ease of doing business.”

In areas where high courts do not have original jurisdiction, state governments may set up commercial appellate courts at the district level to consider appeals from commercial courts below the level of a district judge, as per the bill which replaces an ordinance.

Observing that ease of doing business was a ranking by the World Bank, Prasad said “when we came to power, we were at 142 and now we have jumped 42 points. India today is at 100 as far as ease of doing business is concerned.”

Maintaining that speedy resolution of disputes was part of good governance, Prasad said for a good governance there should be a mechanism for speedy resolution of disputes.

He also urged upon the Supreme Court and the High Courts to ensure that 5,000 vacancies in the subordinate judiciary were filled at the earliest.

The bill provides for the establishment of commercial courts at the district-judge level for territories over which the high courts of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Himachal Pradesh have ordinary original civil jurisdiction.

The introduction of the pre-institution mediation process in cases where no urgent interim relief is contemplated will provide an opportunity to the parties to resolve commercial disputes outside the ambit of courts through authorities constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act.

The law will be given prospective effect so that the authority of the judicial forum at present adjudicating the commercial disputes is not affected.

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