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DHCBA: Rs 2 cr district courts would leave nothing for Delhi HC & ‘impair justice’

Will big-case district courts leave Delhi HC deserted? (image courtesy of Delhi HC website)
Will big-case district courts leave Delhi HC deserted? (image courtesy of Delhi HC website)

The Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) yesterday resisted the proposal of the Delhi high court to increase its original jurisdiction from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 2 crore, noting that it would inconvenience the litigant public, “affect the quality of the judgements” and decrease the opportunity for young lawyers to get “groomed” on the original side.

The DHCBA executive committee met with the chief justice and six or seven other judges of the High Court of Delhi and noted that it had not been consulted in the decision to increase the value of cases that the Delhi district courts could hear.

In a two-page notice dated yesterday (22 November), DHCBA secretary Mohit Mathur wrote that the “alleged resolution is at best a communication to the Government of India to frame a statutory amendment to
the Delhi High Court Act, 1966, which will have to be amended by the legislature to implement the said proposal or resolution of the Full Court”.

The DHCBA criticised the proposal as being unwarranted, in light of the “profile of pending matters on the original side” and because new cases pending at the high court had decreased from 2,564 to 437 between 2008 and 2011.

The notice added that the court’s decision would “impair the Justice Delivery System or the High Court”.

“The shine of Delhi High Court is on account of the judgement pronounced on the original side jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court which could not be possible without the assistance of the bar. The nature of the litigation pending on the original side requires deft handling by experience and knowledge. Any enhancement of the jurisdiction would impede the growth of the Bar as by far most of our junior members get groomed on the original side.

Enhancement of jurisdiction on the original side would also affect the quality of the judgements.

The inconvenience caused to the litigant public by going from one court to another court was also brought to the notice of the Hon’ble Judges. The amendment to the Court Fees Act also has already had a deterrent effect on the filing of new litigation before the Delhi High Court…

The High Court has lost many of its jurisdictions by creation of tribunals while one more is in the offing, namely; Environment tribunal which will also take away further jurisdiction from this court; we wonder then what will be left with the High Court to adjudicate upon?

The Hon’ble Chief Justice was pleased to accept that on the representation being received from the [DHCBA], the same would be deliberated upon before the Full Court recommendation was sent to the Government.”

The notice added that if the DHCBA’s submissions had been considered, “under no circumstances” would the court to have agreed to enhance the pecuniary jurisdiction.

The notice concluded that the DHCBA would keep its members informed of any developments, including the outcome of today’s deliberations by Delhi high court’s chief justice.

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