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Report No. 188

(2) Pecuniary and other jurisdictions

The Commercial Division will deal with high value matters and shall be a Court of original jurisdiction. It shall also be an appellate Court but only in regard to appeals pending in the High Court as on the date of the proposed enactment. It shall also deal with the execution proceedings arising out of the above said classes of cases.

The valuation of the subject matter of dispute for purposes of fixing the jurisdiction of the Commercial Division must, in our view, be simple. We have looked into the principles of valuation governing the filing of civil suits in Courts under the Suits Valuation Act, 1887 and the State Amendments thereto and the various legislations made by the State Legislatures of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala etc. In those Acts, the methods of valuation are quite complicated and we do not want to adopt them. On the other hand, we want to adopt a single method of valuation.

So far as money suits or suits relating to immovable property are concerned, there is not much difficulty. Even here, we are of the view that if the suit affects movable property, whether it be one for recovery of the movable property or not, it should be valued on the basis of the market value of the entire movable property on date of suit. Likewise, when we deal with suits affecting immovable property or even rights therein, the value of the dispute must be computed on the basis of the market value of the whole of the immovable property.

In the case of appeals in the High Court which are to be allocated to the Commercial Division, the value will be the value of subject matter in dispute, as computed in the above manner as on the date of suit. It must apply to new commercial cases of a minimum value of Rs. one crore or above, as may be determined by the High Court. It will also apply to pending commercial suits of a minimum threshold value of Rs.1 crore or more (or such high pecuniary value as may be determined by the High Court). Some of these pending suits may be suits filed in the Courts of unlimited jurisdiction being Courts subordinate to the High Court and some may be suits pending on the original side of the Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras High Courts.

The proposed Act will contain a provision fixing the minimum pecuniary value at Rs.1 crore or more (as may be determined by the High Court) for purposes of transfer and/or allocation of the above cases to the Commercial Division. There will be a specific provision enabling the High Court to increase the minimum pecuniary value above Rs.1 crore but the minimum shall not be excess of Rs. 5 crores. We are proposing this procedure inasmuch as in some States like Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, where transaction values in several big cities are high, it may be necessary to fix a higher threshold value so that the Commercial Division may not be overburdened at the threshold itself. The High Court may fix a minimum value higher than Rs.1 crore (but not higher than 5 crores) and at a later point of time, may even bring it down but not below Rs.1 crore.



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