The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the responses of its administrative side, the city government and the Centre on a petition seeking directions to set up 42 more commercial courts in the national capital to ensure a speedy redressal of commercial cases.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notices to the high court through the registrar general, the Delhi government and the Centre and granted four weeks' time to file their replies on the plea moved by advocate Amit Sahni.
The public interest litigation (PIL) matter has sought directions to authorities to set up 42 commercial courts, as notified by the Delhi government on April 13, 2021 in furtherance of its cabinet decision of March 22, 2021.
"The efficiency of the legal system and the time taken to resolve commercial disputes are extremely important factors in deciding the growth of investment and overall economic and social development of the nation.
"The delay caused in the dispensation of justice is taken note of by the Supreme Court and high courts from time to time and directions have been issued to recruit the pending vacancies in difference courts of the country," the petition said.
It said to expedite the justice delivery system at least concerning commercial disputes, the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 was passed by Parliament, which provides for a separate set of commercial courts to be set up by the states at the district level to try suits and claims pertaining to commercial disputes.
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The plea said currently, 22 commercial courts are functioning in Delhi but the 42 additional courts approved and notified by the city government are yet to be appointed.
"The petitioner had earlier approached this court and vide an order dated July 5, 2022, the court had been pleased to accept the statement made on behalf of respondent number 1 (the administrative side of the high court) that all additional courts will be functional within six months. However, the same is not done till date. Therefore, the present petition," Sahni said.
The plea said as against the best practice in the world of setting a timeline of 164 days for disposal of commercial disputes, Delhi takes 747 days to decide a commercial dispute. Mumbai, on an average, takes only 182 days.
The petition said Delhi courts are over-burdened and according to the data available on the official website of the district courts in the national capital, 26,959 cases were pending before the 22 commercial courts functioning in the city as on February 2022.