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"Nobody Will Invest In UP If Decades Are Taken For Commercial Disputes" : Supreme Court Asks State Govt & Allahabad HC To Resolve Pendency Issue
The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed that let there be a meeting between the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and the members of the infrastructure committee of the High Court and the recruitment committee of the High Court with the Chief secretary, Finance Secretary, Law Secretary and Revenue Secretary of the State of UP within a period of one week to discuss the issues with respect to the infrastructure and other budgetary provisions for the lower judiciary.
The Court further expressed that the High Court should take up the matter with the National Testing Agency to see that the recruitment process for various posts in different cadres in the district judiciary, such as stenographers etc, is expedited and the appointments are made at the earliest and preferably within a period of two months.
The bench of Justices M. R. Shah and Krishna Murari was hearing the matter where the Court had in May to tackle the problem of delay in deciding the matters related to commercial disputes in the state of UP. The direction was issued after being apprised of the burgeoning pendency in the execution proceedings of arbitral awards and applications to set aside award under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, in the state of UP. The bench had issued certain directionsearlier expressed its displeasure at huge pendency of cases filed under two statutes i.e. the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 which envisages the speedy disposal of cases.
On Tuesday, the bench observed in its order that, "Today when the present proceedings are taken for further hearing, Shri Nikhil Goel, counsel appearing for the High Court, has stated that there is a substantial progress in the last few months in disposal of the commercial matters in the districts of Uttar Pradesh and in the commercial courts of Uttar Pradesh. However, still a lot is required to be done for disposal of the commercial disputes at the earliest".
The bench noted in its order, "As observed in the earlier orders, the execution petitions and the proceedings arising out of the commercial disputes are pending for many decades. The aforesaid may ultimately affect the growth of the economy in the state. The state as well as the High Court on the administrative side are required to work together to find out the solution and to see that the commercial disputes which reach to the court are disposed off at the earliest".
The bench further recorded in its order, "It is reported by Shri Goel that though four additional commercial courts are sanctioned by the state of UP pursuant to the earlier orders passed by this court, however, they are only on paper and no infrastructure facilities and other budgetary provisions have been made by the state. The aforesaid statement is made on the instruction of the Registrar General of the High Court".
"It is equally the duty of the State Government also to provide better and adequate infrastructure and to make budgetary provision for the commercial courts and other court buildings. We direct the state of UP to make provisions for the infrastructure facilities under budgetary provisions with respect to the additional commercial courts established within a period of two weeks from today, if not done so far. The Registrar General of the High Court to submit a report of the aforesaid at the next date of hearing", directed the bench.
The bench further noted in its order that "from the status report dated 25.9.2022 filed on behalf of the High Court, it appears that number of posts in various cadres in the district judiciary of the High Court are pending since last four years. From the figure which is mentioned in the report, it appears that the lower judiciary is functioning with 50% of the sanctioned stenographers. Even some of the court rooms/tribunal are functioning in rented premises"
"Shri Goel, counsel for the High Court, has pointed out a correspondence between the High Court and the state administration to make budgetary provisions for infrastructural facilities etc. Let there be a meeting between the hon'ble chief Justice of the High Court and the members of the infrastructure committee of the High Court and the recruitment committee of the High Court with the chief secretary, finance Secretary, Law Secretary and revenue Secretary of the state of UP within a period of one week from today and discuss the issues with respect to the infrastructure and other budgetary provisions etc for the lower judiciary and iron out the creases, if any. The High Court also should take up the matter with the National Testing agency to see that the recruitment process for various posts is expedited and the appointments are made at the earliest and preferably within a period of two months from today. All endeavours shall be made by the High Court and the state government that all sanctioned posts are filled at the earliest and preferably within a period of two months from today. Let the High Court file a further report on the outcome of the meeting with the state administration and the High Court administration as observed above on the next date of hearing", ordered the bench
Justice Shah on Tuesday orally put to Shri Goel and Senior Advocate Garima Prashad, AAG for the state of UP, "Come with concrete suggestions with regard to infrastructure and recruitment for the judiciary, even at taluka level! You should see Gujarat, the kind of infrastructure there is! You have to allocate sufficient budgetary provision for infrastructure and recruitment in the state! No ongoing project or other project should be stopped on the ground of non-availability of funds. Convey this to the highest authority! If ultimately it is found, we will issue the mandamus! Forget the judicial officers, we have to consider the common people also! How they sit outside the courtroom! We are meant for what, for whom? The litigants! If they don't get the facilities, then what? They don't come to the court for the purpose of sitting under the tree!"
Addressing Mr. Goel, Justice Shah orally said, "Still 40,000 execution petitions are pending in the arbitration matters? Nobody will come and invest money in UP if 20 years' or 30 years' time is taken in commercial disputes! Where is the 'ease of doing'? The High Court cannot say it is a state problem! You are also part of the state. The Chief Justice of the High Court has to tackle the problem. You can't only blame the judicial officers or the number of cases pending!"
Case Title: M/S CHOPRA FABRICATORS AND MANUFACTURERS PVT. LTD.v.BHARAT PUMPS AND COMPRESSORS LTD. & ANR.