A Parliamentary committee has approved the Bill to enhance the pecuniary jurisdiction of Delhi’s district courts. The Delhi High Court (amendment) Bill 2014 proposes that civil suits up to Rs 2 crore will be heard by the 11 district courts instead of the Delhi High Court.
Currently, all suits above Rs 20 lakh are heard by the High Court. These will now be transferred to the district courts. The move is expected to help litigants who will no longer need to travel to the High Court and can instead go to one of the district courts located across the city.
The Departmental Standing Committee on Law and Justice, headed by Dr EM Sudarsana Natchiappan, tabled its report before both houses of Parliament on Friday.
In 2012, the Delhi High Court had sent its recommendation to the Delhi government, which forwarded it to the Centre for amendment of the Act. “The committee feels that enhancement of pecuniary jurisdiction of High Court of Delhi as well as district courts is overdue in view of devaluation of currency as well as increase of property rates in Delhi during the last decade,” the report said. The Bill will affect 12,211 cases pending in High Court.
While the district courts welcomed the decision, the Delhi High Court Bar Association opposed it.
“We welcome the decision of the parliamentary committee. We also hope that the matter will be fast tracked in Rajya Sabha. The decision is in the interest of the litigants and it will facilitate justice at the door step,” advocate R K Wadhwa, chairman, co-ordination committee of District Bar Association of Delhi, said.
The Delhi High Court Bar Association seemed to have a fragmented opinion, with its president, Rajiv Khosla, welcoming the decision, even as secretary Abhijat opposed it.
“This decision was long awaited. The High Court and the Delhi government had given their opinions last year,” Khosla said.
DHCBA secretary Abhijat, however, said the enhancement of jurisdiction was “illogical” and has appealed to the government to reject the proposed amendments.