New Delhi: A bill to reduce the workload of the Delhi High Court by enhancing the pecuniary jurisdiction of civil suits from the existing Rs 20 lakh to Rs 2 crore was passed by Parliament on Wednesday.
The Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015, earlier passed by Rajya Sabha, was adopted by a voice vote by the Lower House in the absence of most of the opposition members who are boycotting proceedings to protest the suspension of 25 Congress members for five days by the Speaker.
Once implemented, the measure would allow transferring of civil suits, valued up to Rs 2 crore, to the nine district courts in Delhi from the high court.
The bill was introduced by the UPA government in Rajya Sabha in February 2014 and referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Personnel, which cleared it.
The NDA government approved the measure without any changes and the measure was passed by the Upper House in the Budget Session.
Replying to the debate on the bill, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said that the measure would considerably reduce the workload of the Delhi High Court.
"People staying in far-flung areas will also get relief as they won't have to come to the High Court. Currently, 11 district courts (in Delhi) are assigned to deal with the cases, but three more district courts will be added to the list," he said.
When South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri sought increasing the cap to Rs 5 crore because of the growth in property rates, Gowda said the enhancement of the pecuniary jurisdiction was done with due consultations with the Bar Association of Delhi and a resolution by the High Court. "When time comes, it can be enhanced in future", the Minister said.
Lower court lawyers in Delhi have been on an indefinite strike since July 21 till date demanding expeditious passage of the Bill, while those of the high court were on strike for about six days from July 22 opposing the measure.