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Report No. 253

Table 2.5: Total number of original side cases pending in each High Court with original civil jurisdiction as on 31.12.2013

High Court

Total Number of Original Side cases pending

Bombay

47924

Calcutta

36087

Delhi

17597

Himachal Pradesh

3734

Madras

41702

Total

147044

2.4.8 According to the data given by the Madras High Court, only four judges (including the Chief Justice of the High Court) were allocated for the 41,702 cases pending on the original side between 01.01.2013 and 31.12.2013.19 Even if all these judges were to deal only with 5865 pending civil suits related to commercial disputes (as per Table 4), each judge would still be required to hear about 1467 cases.

19. It may be noted here that the Madras High Court does not classify writ petitions as "original side cases".

2.4.9 As per the figures given by the Bombay High Court although between fifteen to eighteen judges were allocated to original side work, no more than between three to eight judges were exclusively dealing with original side work. If we assume that the remaining ten judges divided their time between original side and appellate side work equally, we arrive at a figure of eight to thirteen judges.

For the purposes of calculation if we take the average of this figure and assume that approximately eleven judges were dealing with original side work (47,924 cases), we still find that each judge had approximately 4356 original side cases on file over the course of a year. This includes not only the civil suits, but also writ petitions preferred on the original side.

2.4.10 Therefore, the above data makes it evident that most High Courts are still grappling with the issue of high pendency of cases on the original side, including writ petitions, arbitration cases etc., and have not been able to reduce the pendency in the last decade. Rather than increasing the burden of the Courts, the focus should be on reducing the number of cases by increasing the pecuniary jurisdictional threshold of civil suits in such High Courts.

The jurisdiction of the Bombay and Calcutta High Courts have already been increased to Rupees One Crore. In view of the fact that Commercial Disputes, for the purposes of the new Bill recommended by this Commission, will be defined as those with a specified value above Rupees One Crore, it is desirable that all the five High Courts should have a uniform pecuniary jurisdiction of Rupees One Crore.

2.4.11 The Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2014 is currently pending consideration in the Parliament and if passed in its current form, it will raise the ordinary original civil jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court to Rupees Two Crores.20 This may, however, create an anomaly in the implementation of the Bill as it may not be feasible to set up a Commercial Court in Delhi to decide commercial disputes only valued between Rupees One Crore and Two Crores given that such suits would ordinarily be heard by regular civil courts.

Moreover, if it is accepted that disputes above the value of Rupees One Crore are likely to involve highly technical issues and should be decided by judges who specialise in such disputes, then it would be incongruous in the case of Delhi to have such disputes be decided by the regular civil courts. Therefore, in order to achieve the objective of the Bill and prevent such anomalies from occurring, the Government may consider enhancing the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court up to Rupees One Crore so as to bring uniformity amongst the five High Courts.

20. Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

2.4.12 At this stage, it is instructive to notice the data on the pendency of commercial disputes based on the value of the suit:



Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts and Commercial Courts Bill, 2015 Back




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