The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Act, 2018 has been notified on 20-08-2018, w.e.f. 03-05-2018, and received the President’s assent on 20-08-2018. It amends the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015, (principal act) which after the amendment to it’s short title shall be called as Commercial Courts Act, 2015.
Salient features of the amendment Act are —
- It aims to lessen the specified value of a commercial dispute to 3 lakhs from the present value of 1 crore. Therefore, commercial disputes of a reasonable value can be decided by commercial courts, which would lead to coming down of the time taken in resolution of commercial disputes of lesser value.
- The amendment provides for establishment of Commercial Courts at district Judge level for the territories over which respective High Courts have ordinary original civil jurisdiction i.e in the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and State of Himachal Pradesh. The State Governments, in such territories may by notification specify such pecuniary value of commercial disputes to be adjudicated at the district level, which shall not be less than Rs. 3 lakhs and not more than the pecuniary jurisdiction of the district court. In the jurisdiction of High Courts other than those exercising ordinary original jurisdiction a forum of Appeal in commercial dispute decided by commercial courts below the level of District judge is being provided, in the form of Commercial Appellate Courts to be at district judge level.
- The provision of introduction of the pre-institution mediation process in cases where no urgent, interim relief is contemplated will provide an opportunity to the parties to resolve the commercial disputes outside the ambit of the courts through the authorities constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.and will thus ultimately help in reinforcing investor’s confidence in the resolution of commercial disputes.
- S. 17 of the bill aims at amending S. 21 of the principal act so as to add a provision which enables the Central Government to make rules and procedures for pre-institution mediation.
- Also a provision has been added to give prospective effect to the amendment so as not to disturb the authority of the judicial forum presently adjudicating the commercial disputes as per the extant provisions of the Act.