Report No. 253
(i) Lack of original jurisdiction in all High Courts
2.2.1 At present only five High Courts - the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, the High Court of Judicature at Calcutta, the Delhi High Court, the Himachal Pradesh High Court and the High Court of Judicature at Madras - have original civil jurisdiction. The present Bill, seem to empower the High Court to vest itself with original jurisdiction insofar as commercial disputes above a specified value are concerned. This is problematic for two reasons:
2.2.2 First, it is unprecedented for any High Court to be given the statutory power to vest jurisdiction in itself. Jurisdiction is vested in a court by virtue of the Constitution, as with the Supreme Court of India and the High Courts, or by statutes such as the CPC and other such legislations. As a result of the exercise of the discretion to constitute a Commercial Division of the High Court, by virtue of Clause 3 of the Bill read with Clauses 4 and 11, all existing civil suits in respect of commercial disputes above the specified value shall stand transferred to that High Court.
2.2.3 Second, those High Courts which do not have original jurisdiction at present, namely, all the High Courts apart from the above-mentioned five High Courts, face an additional burden of having to promulgate and apply new sets of rules and procedures and put in place additional infrastructure to handle commercial suits.
2.2.4 Hence, this Report recommends that the power to constitute Commercial Division of the High Court or Commercial Court, as the case may be, shall vest with the Central Government.