A bill to amend the law for speedy disposal of commercial disputes and seeking to reduce the pecuniary jurisdiction of commercial courts from Rs 10 million to Rs 300,000 was passed by Parliament on Friday.
The bill, passed in the Lok Sabha in July 31, was adopted in the Raya Sabha by voice vote amid opposition demand for strengthening the necessary infrastructure for speedy disposal of cases.
Replying to the debate on the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) bill 2018, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said small businesses should get their disputes redressed like the big ones.
Maintaining that efforts were being made to improve the court infrastructure, he said under a central scheme, 42 per cent of the Rs 63.02 billion was given to the states for infrastructure development in the last four years alone.
Even measures to fill up vacant posts of judges in the higher judiciary were being undertaken, he said.
However, the government has no powers to address the vacancies in subordinate courts where the 5,000 posts are lying vacant at present, he said.
Prasad suggested that an All India Judiciary Exam will help address the current problem but "big courts are opposing to this idea."
Earlier while introducing the bill for consideration, Prasad said that commercial disputes need to be redressed faster at a time when the country's economy is growing at a faster rate.
Participating in the debate, Bhubaneswar Kalita (Cong) expressed concern over the government taking the ordinance route frequently to bring amendments to various laws.
He, however, supported the bill saying it was necessary considering the increase in financial disputes.
He pointed out that reducing the pecuniary jurisdiction of commercial courts to 300,000 will overburden the courts.
Harshavardhan Singh Dungarpur (BJP), A Vijay Kumar (AIADMK), Ramnath Takur (JD-U), Manjoj Kumar Jha (RJD) and D Raja (CPI) also participated in the debate.