Bill to set up commercial benches in HCs introduced in RS

A bill to set up commercial benches in select high courts to deal with high value business disputes was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

New Delhi: A bill to set up commercial benches in select high courts to deal with high value business disputes was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Moving the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, 2015, Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda said the measure should be taken into consideration along with the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill.

The Commercial Division of High Courts Bill has also been pending for a long time. After being referred to a Rajya Sabha Select Committee, it was sent to the Law Commission. The re-drafted bill was given the Cabinet nod last week, he said.

Once the proposed bill gets parliamentary nod, all pending suits and applications relating to commercial disputes involving a claim of Rs one crore and above in the high courts and civil courts will be transferred to the relevant Commercial Division or Commercial Courts as the case may be.

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 courts.

Commercial Divisions will exercise jurisdiction over all cases and applications relating to commercial disputes. The Commercial Division shall have territorial jurisdiction over such area on which it has original jurisdiction.

According to the Law Ministry proposal, Commercial Courts which will be equivalent to district courts are to be set up in states and Union Territories where the high courts do not have ordinary original civil jurisdiction.

The proposal says that Commercial Appellate Division will be set up in all the high courts to hear appeals against orders of Commercial Division of high court and orders of commercial courts.

But Commercial Divisions or Commercial Courts will 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, it said.

The introduction of the Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts and Commercial Courts Bill, 2015 in the current session was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the budget speech.

Commercial dispute has been 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, as per the proposal.

The bill is based on the recommendations of the Law Commission.