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Report No. 253

C. Report of the Select Committee on the Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009

1.8 The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha without being referred to Standing Committee. After its passage in the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha took up the Bill for consideration on 22nd December 2009, pursuant to which the Bill was referred to the Select Committee on the Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009 (hereinafter "the Select Committee"). The Select Committee presented its Report on 29th July 2010 and suggested certain changes to the Bill. Some of the major suggested changes were as follows:10

(a) The definition of "commercial dispute" should be expanded to include joint venture agreements, shareholders' agreements, subscription and investment agreements, and pertaining to the service industry, including outsourcing of services, business process outsourcing, banking and finance, financial services and the like.

(b) A clarification should be inserted in the Bill that the Commercial Division will not comprise of a bench of two judges, and instead will have a single judge presiding over the commercial cases.

(c) The High Courts should be consulted on the determination of the "specified value" of commercial disputes. Further, the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Commercial Division should be reduced from Rupees Five Crore to Rupees One Crore, in view of the fact that the Bill was already creating two classes of litigants - those with disputes above Rupees Five Crore (or the specified value) who can go straight to the High Court, and the others who have to go to the Civil Court.

(d) The number of years stipulated as the experience required for an advocate to be appointed as a commissioner for recording evidence of parties should be reduced.

(e) Except cases where arguments and trial have been completed, all pending commercial disputes should be transferred to the Commercial Division as per Clause 11 of the Bill.

10. Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Report of the Select Committee on the Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009 as Passed by Lok Sabha, Presented to the Rajya Sabha on 29th July 2010, available at
<http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/Division%20High%20Courts/Select%20Committee%20Report.pdf>.



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