Delhi high court may soon transfer many of its files to the Lower courts. LokSabha last week passed Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015, by a voice vote. It was earlier passed by Rajya Sabha during budget session. The amendment act reads “In sub-section (2) of section 5 of the Delhi High Court Act, 1966, for the words ‘‘rupees twenty lakhs’’, the words ‘‘rupees two crore’’ shall be substituted”. This means the pecuniary jurisdiction of Delhi High court is raised from Rupees Twenty Lakhs to Rupees Two Crore. The High Court of Delhi now will have ordinary original civil jurisdiction in every suit the value of which exceeds Rupees Two Crores.
The amendment act also says “The Chief Justice of the High Court of Delhi may transfer any suit or other proceedings which is or are pending in the High Court immediately before the commencement of this Act to such subordinate court in the National Capital Territory of Delhi as would have jurisdiction to entertain such suit or proceedings had such suit or proceedings been instituted or filed for the first time after such commencement.” which means that the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court is empowered to transfer the pending cases before it to the District Courts in the capital.
Replying to the debate on the bill, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda had said that the measure would considerably reduce the workload of the Delhi High Court."People staying in far-flung areas will also get relief as they won't have to come to the High Court. Currently, 11 district courts (in Delhi) are assigned to deal with the cases, but three more district courts will be added to the list," he said.Law minister had also said that the Coordination Committee of the Bar Association of Delhi has been representing at various forums to enhance the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Delhi Court from the existing amount of Rs.20 lakh to Rs.2 crore. According to Minister, the necessity arose as “the property value in and around Delhi has increased by manifold. Even the present monetary jurisdiction has become so low that a case pertaining to very small property has to be filed before the High Court”
Participating in the discussion another member of the house, Smt Anupriya Patel, said “By increasing it ten-folds, we are actually going to transfer more than 12,000 cases which are pending in the Delhi High Court to the lower courts. I think it is a good idea because pendency is a serious issue and an impediment to the litigants. It is not only in the interest of the public, but also in the interest of the judiciary because a lot of judges in the lower courts are sitting idle, so we will be able to give them some work.”An MP from Andhra Pradesh had suggested that the pecuniary jurisdiction should be uniform throughout the country.
Read the full text of bill here.