Exclusive; Commercial courts cannot work the way you propose: CJI to PM
“Today a corporate litigant is required to stand, jostle, rub shoulders with may be a pickpocket or some thief or petty offender. Commercial court concept was that we provide a kind of environment which a corporate client may feel comfortable in. I think if we go on setting up commercial courts without providing the necessary infrastructure and the environment it requires it won’t serve the desired purpose“
In a significant statement, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do some “course correction” and “take a fresh look” into the government’s concept of commercial courts saying the way it has been envisaged will not serve the desired purpose
“I think you will have to look into the whole concept afresh and whatever is required for course correction needs to be done”, the Chief Justice said looking at the Prime Minister while addressing the Chief Justices and State Chief Ministers Conference at Vigyan Bhawan yesterday.
“Honourable Prime Minister, commercial courts is one of your laudable and very important agendas. The commercial courts concept came up because we wanted the image of Indian judiciary in the eyes of other countries enhanced. Commercial courts should speedily dispose off cases, commercial disputes” , he said
“But what is happening is that commercial courts are being designated from the existing infrastructure and judge pool. That would not serve the objective. If in Tiz Hazari you simply put a board that this is a commercial court it doesn’t satisfy the objective behind setting up of such courts . You need to provide a totally different environment for a commercial court, said the CJI
“Today a corporate litigant is required to stand, jostle, rub shoulders with may be a pickpocket or some thief or petty offender in ordinary courts. Commercial court concept was that we provide a kind of environment which a corporate client may feel comfortable in. I think if we go on setting up commercial courts without providing the necessary infrastructure and the environment it requires it won’t serve the desired purpose“, he said
“I was in Dubai sometimes back. I was taken to the commercial court complex. I was amazed at the kind of environment they provide. One feels it is like an operation theatre where we have solemn and very very efficient system While we stand by the concept of commercial courts we must make it as a model courts in terms of the environment, in terms of the work load before the judge, procedure and the time taken by a judge to dispose off a case”, he said.
“Simply putting the old wine in a new bottle will not suffice. So you must think in terms of providing additional infrastructure, judges and staff for commercial courts . Otherwise what will happen is corporate litigant my get a preferential treatment, his cases may get a first preference but other litigant who have other disputes will continue to languish”, the Chief Justice told the PM.
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech of 2015 had said that for quick resolution of commercial disputes, the government proposed to set up exclusive commercial divisions in various courts in India based on the recommendations of the 253rd report of the Law Commission.
The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 was passed in the winter session of parliament. It was notified on the 1st of January this year and ought to bring some cheer to the investors’ community.
It contemplates setting up commercial courts at the district level and commercial divisions and appellate divisions at the high court level. It seeks to completely transform the manner in which commercial cases are heard and tried in India.
Delays in the Indian judicial system have been long highlighted not just by foreign countries and courts but even by our own judges. It was believed that if the Act is properly implemented, it would go a long way in reposing confidence in the judicial system.
It is to be noted that the CJI while seeking appointment of more judges and courts to ensure speedy disposal of cases also told the PM that “You want FDI, you want people to come and Make In India and invest in India but those whom you are inviting are concerned about the ability of the judicial system of the country to deal with disputes that may arise in connection with such investment. Efficiency of the judicial system is virtually connected with the development of the country”