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Report No. 253

B. Scheme of the Provisions of the Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009

1.6 The Law Commission's proposal on the constitution of a dedicated Bench of the High Court (the Commercial Division) to decide commercial cases above a certain monetary limit on a fast track basis was considered, and accepted, by the 'Conference of Chief Ministers of the States and Chief Justices of the High Courts' on 16th August 2009 in New Delhi.

1.7 On the basis of the above recommendations of the Commission, the Lok Sabha introduced the Bill as "Bill No. 139 of 2009" on 16th December 2009,3 and passed it on 18th December 2009.4 The Bill contained the following main features:

(a) Clause 3 vested power with the High Court to set up a "Commercial Division" in that High Court comprising of one or more Benches.

(b) All suits relating to "commercial disputes" as defined under the Bill and above the "specified value" of Rupees Five Crores, or a higher value fixed by the Central Government,5 were to be filed in the High Court and allocated to the Commercial Division.6

(c) All commercial disputes above the specified value, whether pending in the High Court or elsewhere, were to be transferred to the Commercial Division of the High Court as per Clause 11 of the Bill.

(d) Apart from suits, all applications under Sections 34, 36 or 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (hereinafter "the A&C Act") relating to "commercial disputes" of the specified value were also to be decided by the Commercial Division of the High Court.7 The A&C Act, 1996 was also amended to change the definition of "Court" and insert a proviso in Section 37 to give effect to the above provisions.8

(e) The "specified value" of a suit, necessary to vest jurisdiction in the Commercial Division, was to be determined in the manner provided in the Bill under Clause 8.

(f) The procedure to be followed by the Commercial Division was laid down in the Bill, overriding the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (hereinafter the "CPC") insofar as there was any conflict between the two.9

(g) A single Judge sitting in the Commercial Division was also empowered to hold case management conferences vide Clause 10 to, inter alia, fix time schedules for filing evidence and written submissions. Pertinently, Clause 3(2) of the Bill spoke of "judges" of the Commercial Division and seemed to provide for two-judge Benches in the Commercial Division.

(h) Any decree or order passed by the Commercial Division was appealable directly to the Supreme Court of India under Clause 13.

(i) The jurisdiction of the tribunals and other forums were not to be affected by the jurisdiction of the Commercial Division of High Courts as per Clause 15.

3. The Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009; Parliament of India, Motion for Consideration of the Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009 (Bill Passed), LOK SABHA DEBATES, 16th December, 2009, available at
<http://164.100.47.132/LssNew/psearch/Result15.aspx?dbsl=1230>.

4. Akshaya Mukul and Indrani Bagchi, This Lok Sabha cleared 17 Bills in less than five minutes, TIMES OF INDIA, 7th February 2014, available at
<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/This-Lok-Sabha-cleared-17-of-bills-in-less-than-five-minutes/articleshow/29964406.cms>.

5. Clause 2(1) read with Clause 7(1), Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009.

6. Clause 4, Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009.

7. Clause 5, Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009.

8. Clause 19, Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009.

9. Clause 9, Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009.



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




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