Commercial Courts bill to be tabled in session: Moily

The Commercial Courts bill proposes that disputes involving subject matter worth Rs 5 crore and above would be decided by special division benches of High Courts within one year.

Last Updated: Aug 01, 2010, 16:16 PM IST

Mumbai: The Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009, under which special courts are contemplated for speedy hearing of commercial disputes of Rs five crore and
above, would be tabled in the current session of the Parliament, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily said here on Sunday.

Moily inaugurated a conference on proposed amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, here.

The Commercial Courts bill proposes that disputes involving subject matter worth Rs 5 crore and above would be decided by special division benches of High Courts within one
year.

Moily said the bill got stuck in the Rajya Sabha, but government would ensure its passage in this session.

"The economy opened up in 1991, but we did not open up the (institutions of) commercial disputes," Moily said, adding the "general perception" in the outside world that Indian legal system is time-consuming "must be removed".

"It can`t wait,", he said, adding the proposed amendments to Arbitration Act and the Commercial Courts Bill would usher in "a new era, new regime in dispute settlement".

Saying that currently companies prefer Hong Kong, Singapore, UK, etc over India for arbitration proceedings, Moily said this situation must change.

"India should become the most preferred destination for international arbitration," he said.

Talking about the pending cases in Indian courts, Moily said the government was aiming to reduce the pendency in such a way that in the next four years no case would remain pending beyond three years.

Referring to a statement by an Allahabad High Court judge that it would take 300 years to dispose of all the pending cases, Moily said, "This is pessimistic attitude...We have to
combat the problem instead of running away from it."

About the drive to free undertrials languishing in jails for minor offences, Moily said since January 26 this year, 2,2600 under trials have been freed.

"Reform is a creative destruction...we need reforms," he said.

The function was attended, among others, by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Justice Dalveer Bhandari of Supreme Court and Justice Mohit Shah, the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.

PTI