Litigants in the Capital will no longer have to go to the Delhi high court for adjudication of civil cases involving disputes up to Rs. 2 crore as the pecuniary jurisdiction of Delhi District Courts has been increased from Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 2 crore.
The decision to increase Delhi District Courts' pecuniary jurisdiction 10-fold was taken on Wednesday by the full court (all judges) of the Delhi high court after a two-hour meeting, Delhi HC sources said.
The decision is likely to ease the burden on the Delhi high court. But it will increase the pressure on the Delhi District Courts as cases involving disputes up to Rs. 2 crore will be sent to them.
According to figures released by the Supreme Court, 11,261 civil cases were filed in the Delhi high court during July-September 2011, while the number of civil disputes disposed of stood at 13,315. The filing and disposal figures for Delhi District Courts during the same period stood at 29,719 and 29,598.
As on September 30, 2011, there were 48,267 civil cases pending in the Delhi High Court compared to 1,62,051 civil disputes that awaited disposal in district courts of the national capital.
The decision evoked sharp reaction from the Delhi High Court Bar Association. "We were not consulted in the decision-making process. The bar will oppose the new pecuniary jurisdiction, as it is completely illogical," Mohit Mathur, Delhi High Court Bar Association Secretary said.
The district court bar associations hailed it as the decision was likely to generate more litigation opportunities for their members. Delhi Bar Association Secretary Nitin Ahlawat said, "We welcome the Delhi High Court decision. For years, we have been demanding an increase in the pecuniary jurisdiction. Now, civil cases pending for years can be disposed of quickly".
“We are happy with the decision. The circular on pecuniary jurisdiction has not yet been circulated. But we appreciate the move,” said RN Vats, president, New Delhi Bar Association.
In the past, the district court lawyers have gone on strike protesting against the sanctioned financial limit of civil disputes. Their demands were often opposed by the Delhi high court bar association.
“We are deliberating legal action against this decision. This move is futile to reduce the pendency of civil cases, ” said a Delhi high court source.