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CJI urges govt to invest in commercial courts

Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Sunday pulled up the government for setting up commercial courts without augmenting the judicial infrastructure in terms of judges’ strength.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2016 01:41 IST
Satya Prakash
Chief Justice of India TS Thakur with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a conference in New Delhi on Sunday.
Chief Justice of India TS Thakur with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a conference in New Delhi on Sunday.(Sushil Kumar/HT Photo)

Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Sunday pulled up the government for setting up commercial courts without augmenting the judicial infrastructure in terms of judges’ strength, support staff, building and other facilities, putting an additional burden on the existing manpower and infrastructure.

Addressing the annual Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers, the CJI said this practice would not serve the purpose of enhancing India’s image in the global arena as at present business litigants were forced to rub shoulders with petty and dreaded criminals in the court premises.

Noting that India was growing at a higher rate and foreign direct investment was increasing, the CJI said: “Those who are investing are concerned about the ability of our judiciary to deal with their cases. The efficiency of judiciary is vital to development.”

Lauding the initiative to set up commercial courts, the CJI, however, said: “Simply putting the old wine in a new bottle will not serve the purpose.”

He suggested that retired judges, who had integrity and clean image, should be hired for 2-3 years as part of the efforts to dispose of cases pending for more than 10 years.

High court judges are not here looking for post-retirement benefits but to devise means to make access to justice a reality, Justice Thakur said in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, law minister DV Sadananda Gowda and a large number of judges.

The CJI said he was amazed to see a commercial court in Dubai where the infrastructure and environment in courts was better suited for corporate litigants.

Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, who delivered the inaugural address, and Chief Ministers and High Court Chief Justices are attending the day-long the conference. Justice Thakur said he and the CJs had meetings in the past two days and had come up with solutions to several problems facing the judiciary.

The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, 2015 was passed by Parliament in December 2015.

After the Act was notified on January 1 this year, Commercial Divisions were set up in those high courts which were already exercising ordinary original civil jurisdiction such as Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Himachal Pradesh high courts. Commercial Divisions exercise jurisdiction over all cases and applications relating to commercial disputes. The Commercial Divisions have territorial jurisdiction over such area on which they have original jurisdiction.

Commercial Courts, which are equivalent to district courts, were set up in states and Union Territories where the high courts do not have ordinary original civil jurisdiction.