Union Cabinet on 22 April 2015 approved the introduction of The Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts and Commercial Courts Bill, 2015 in the current session of Parliament.
The bill aimed at setting up exclusive commercial divisions in courts was approved by the union cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The bill will provide a mechanism to ensure speedy disposal of high value commercial disputes.
The bill was based upon the Law Commission's recommendations. The Law Commission in its 253rd Report recommended establishment of Commercial Courts, Commercial Divisions and Commercial Appellate Divisions in the High Courts.
The salient features of the proposed Bill are as under
- The bill will deal with Commercial dispute which is defined broadly to mean dispute arising out of ordinary transactions of merchants, bankers, financiers and traders such as those relating to mercantile documents; joint venture and partnership agreements; intellectual property rights; insurance and other areas.
- Commercial Divisions are to be set up in those High Courts which are already exercising ordinary original civil jurisdiction such as Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, and Himachal Pradesh High Court.
- The Commercial Division shall have territorial jurisdiction over such area on which it has original jurisdiction.
- Commercial Appellate Division shall be set up in all the High Courts to hear appeal against Orders of Commercial Division of High Court and Orders of Commercial Courts.
- Commercial Courts which will be equivalent to District Courts are to be set up in (i) The States and UTs where the High Court do not have ordinary original civil jurisdiction, and (ii) In the States where the High Court has original jurisdiction, in respect of those regions to which the original jurisdiction of a High Court does not extend. The minimum pecuniary jurisdiction of such Commercial Courts and commercial division is proposed as One Crore rupees.
- Commercial Divisions or Commercial Courts shall not have jurisdiction in matters relating to commercial dispute, where the jurisdiction of the civil court has been either expressly or impliedly barred under law.
- All pending suits and applications relating to commercial disputes involving a claim of One Crore rupees in the High Courts and Civil Courts will be transferred to the relevant Commercial Division or Commercial Court as the case may be.
- It is proposed to have a streamlined procedure which is to be adopted for the conduct of cases in the Commercial Division and in the Commercial Court by amending the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 so as to improve the efficiency and reduce delays in disposal of commercial cases. The amended CPC as applicable to the Commercial Divisions and Commercial Courts will prevail over the existing High Court Rules and other provisions of the CPC to the contrary.
The establishment of commercial courts in India is a stepping stone to bring about reform in the civil justice system.