Lawyers at district courts on Friday went on a day-long strike to press for a hike in the monetary ceiling of cases heard by these courts.
At present, district courts hear cases which involve amounts up to Rs 2 million. Civil matters involving property and other suits of more than Rs 2 million are heard by the Delhi High Court.
"There is complete strike in all five district courts," said Rajiv Khosla, the spokesman for the coordination committee of all district bar associations.
He said the high courts of almost all states in the country are dealing in appellate and writ jurisdiction and the original jurisdiction of cases vests only with the district courts. "Even in Delhi, prior to the establishment of the Delhi High Court, the trial of cases of all amounts vested with the district court," he added.
Khosla said it takes almost 16 years to decide a civil matter in the high court due to the huge pendency, and the process proves costly for the litigants. "Such disputes can be disposed of at district courts expeditiously at a lower cost," he said.
The lawyers are demanding removing the bar of Rs.2 million altogether, and putting no ceiling at all. The decision to raise the bar can be taken by the government only on the recommendation of the high court, they said.
"The present jurisdiction of district courts is not sufficient even to entertain a dispute of an LIG (Lower Income Group) flat and the litigants are suffering because of this. Several meetings with the chief justice of the high court and numerous representations have also failed to yield any result, forcing lawyers to go on a day-long strike," said Mahesh Sharma, president of the committee.
The cases listed for hearing at district courts at Patiala House, Tis Hazari, Karkardooma, Rohini and Dwarka were adjourned due to the strike, said Jaiveer Singh Chauhan, the secretary of the Delhi Bar Association.
Several litigants suffered due to the strike. Shanti Devi's son died in a accident seven years back and the court was to pronounce the compensation order Friday but could not as her lawyer could not file a necessary document due to the strike.
"At this age I just can't travel much but now the court has posted the matter for next date and I will have to come back. This is not fair on the part of lawyers. Why they left litigants abandoned for their causes? Are we supposed to be sufferers every time," she asked.