LS passes Bill for fast disposal of commercial disputes

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New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amend) Bill that seeks to bring down the specified value of commercial disputes from the existing Rs 1 crore each to Rs 3 lakh for improving India’s standing in the ease of doing business.

Earlier, moving the Bill for consideration and passage, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “Good governance is also part of good economy.”

He said that there were 214 commercial courts, and over 2,000 cases of involving over Rs 1 crore were pending.

The Bill also seeks to withdraw an ordinance brought by the government earlier in 2018.

Replying to the discussion, Prasad said: “This is a historic legislation. This Bill is a larger narrative pursuance to ensuring India’s performance in the ease of doing business. We want to provide option of using commercial dispute resolution to smaller traders also.”

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It provides for establishment of commercial courts at the district judge level for the territories over which respective high courts have ordinary original civil jurisdiction.

The Bill seeks to amend the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 and provides for reducing the specified value of commercial disputes from the existing Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 lakh, enabling the parties to approach the lowest level of subordinate courts for speedy resolution of disputes.

Officials said there has been a steep rise in the number of commercial disputes at domestic and international levels.

Growing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and overseas commercial transactions have also contributed to a significant increase in commercial disputes.

They said bringing down the specified value of commercial disputes would reduce the time taken for resolution of such disputes and improve India’s ranking in the ease of doing business.

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The Minister also said there are currently 18,446 judges in subordinate judiciary and the government has provided residential facilities to 15,853 subordinate judges.

“The government has created post of 173 new judges in High Courts and since Supreme Court stayed appointments in 2014-15, less appointments were made during that period.

“This is not our fault, Supreme Court stayed the appointments,” he added.

Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai intervened and asked: “Who is supreme – Parliament or Supreme Court? We are lawmakers. We have to find the solution. Judges are interpreters of law, we are the lawmakers.”

In response, Prasad said: “We have accepted the judgement (on National Judicial Appoinments Commission), but as a law student, we have serious reservations about it.”

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He further informed the House that in 2017, the government had appointed 115 judges and this year it appointed 34 judges in the higher judiciary.

The Minister said there should be larger representation of SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities in the higher judiciary.

–IANS

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