Opposition forces govt to defer high court bill | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Opposition forces govt to defer high court bill

delhi Updated: Dec 13, 2011 23:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
New Delhi

A combined opposition in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday forced the government to defer a bill for setting up special benches in all high courts to hear commercial disputes.

The opposition members alleged the bill, in its present form, provided a "preferential treatment" to the rich at the cost of the poor.

Conceding there were deficiencies in the bill, Union law minister Salman Khurshid said, "There are certain aspects that require further consideration... We will be able to bring some new amendments... I seek only little more time now."

Khurshid said the government "has no problem" if the members felt further consultations were required.

The Lok Sabha had passed the bill, titled Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, in December 2009.

The bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in March last year, but had to be referred to a select committee of the House following objections from opposition members.

The bill aims to set up special benches — to be called commercial divisions — to hear commercial disputes of Rs 1 crore and above.

The disputes have been defined as "arising out of ordinary transactions of merchants, bankers, and traders such as those relating to agreements, export or import of merchandise, partnership, intellectual property rights and similar disputes".

Earlier, leader of Opposition and BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the bill was "completely misconceived and badly drafted". "It would lead to transferring these cases from fastest courts to the laziest layer of judiciary," he said.

Jaitley said more than 30% posts of judges was vacant in high courts across the country and creating special commercial divisions would further reduce the number of judges hearing other cases.

Many other opposition MPs demanded the bill be withdrawn since it favoured the rich.

"This is not in tune with the concept of justice. This bill can be taken back and reconsidered ... take sense of the House. Come back, we will consider," said Communist Party of India leader D Raja.