A Parliamentary committee today gave its nod to a bill to enhance the pecuniary jurisdiction of civil suits of the Delhi High Court from the existing Rs 20 lakh to Rs 2 crore.
The Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2014 aims at reducing workload of the Delhi High Court by transferring civil suits, valued up to Rs 2 crore, to the nine district courts in Delhi.
"The Committee, while endorsing the enhancement of pecuniary jurisdiction of Delhi High Court and district courts in Delhi to Rs 2 crore from Rs 20 lakh as proposed in the Bill, is of the view that there is also a need to bring in uniformity in the pecuniary jurisdiction of all High Courts in the country," the Standing Committee on Law and Personnel said in its report tabled in Parliament today.
The bill was introduced by the previous UPA government in the Rajya Sabha in February and was referred to the standing committee.
At present, cases involving even a small property are required to be filed before the HC as it has the jurisdiction of civil suits involving Rs 20 lakh and above.
"This has increased the workload of the Delhi High Court... The poor people living in Delhi also have to cover considerable distance to approach the Delhi High Court to seek justice in their cases," the statement of objects and reasons of the bill states.
Committee Chairman E M S Natchiappan said though the Delhi High Court Bar Association was opposed to the move, the panel supported the bill as it would help people access justice closer to their homes.
The Coordination Committee of Bar Association of Delhi had at various forums sought enhancement of the pecuniary jurisdiction of district courts in Delhi.
Since there are nine district courts, it is easier for litigants to approach them and the cost of litigation is also less there.
Once implemented, the move will lead to transfer of thousands of civil suits, valued up to Rs 2 crore, from the high court to the nine district courts.
The move to amend the Delhi High Court Act comes in the wake of a recommendation made by former Delhi High Court Chief Justice D Murugesan last year.