Chief Justice roots for commercial courts to speed up settlements

The Commercial Court Bill, backed by top legal officers in the country, including Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia, is part of the Centre’s second generation legal reforms aimed at doing away with high pendency of court cases, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily has said.

The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha and would be tabled in the Rajya Sabha in the monsoon session of Parliament. It aims at setting up separate legal units to try commercial cases. “Any investment above Rs 5 crore will be decided in commercial courts within a year,” Moily,  also chairman of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, said in London on Saturday.

The Bill would also employ arbitration to settle inter-continental business disputes, aimed at making the country a preferred investment destination. The international arbitration courts will have a mandate to dispose of any litigation within a year.

Speeding up proceedings

CJI Kapadia supported the Bill as one of the ways to speed up court proceedings and dispose of the number of pending court cases that recently touched the 3.5-crore mark.
Addressing a group of Supreme Court and High Court judges on Saturday,  Justice Kapadia said the Bill also paved the way for a culture of out-of-court settlements, not much in vogue in India.

“We do not have a settlement culture. Mediation and arbitration as a mode of dispute settlement is popular and successful in other countries,” he said, inaugurating a seminar on ‘National Conference on Mediation’ in New Delhi. Apart from the Commercial Court Bill, the second generation legal reforms include steps to drastically reduce delay in disposal of court cases and putting in place a legal regulatory regime.

“The government would like to reduce the delay in disposal of court cases to less than three years from the current delay of over 15 years,” Moily said.

Legal education

The Centre also aims to better legal education and upgrade course contents in the 933 law colleges across the country. “We intend to restructure the faculty of our law colleges and make them world class. The priority of the government is to strengthen and widen the centres of excellences and establish more National Law Schools, at least one in each state,” Moily said.

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