Thursday, March 23, 2023

Supreme Court seeks response from Allahabad High Court on transfer of matters under Commercial Courts Act

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The Supreme Court has sought the Allahabad High Court to look into whether transferring the pending arbitration matters to the concerned Commercial Courts is contrary to Section 15 of the Commercial Courts Act.

The direction was passed on Wednesday by a Bench comprising Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, while hearing the matter related to its verdict on May 24, this year.

The Apex Court had issued directions in May related to the matters of commercial disputes and their dealing in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The direction followed the burgeoning pendency in execution proceedings of arbitral awards and applications to set aside the award under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 in UP.

The same bench had earlier expressed its displeasure at huge pendency of cases filed under two statutes – the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, which envisages speedy disposal of cases.

The bench on Wednesday noted that according to the counsel for the High Court, the cases filed under the Arbitration Act prior to the establishment of the Commercial Courts Act were not transferred to the Commercial Courts and the jurisdiction continued with regular courts.

The Court noted that not transferring the pending arbitration matters/commercial cases to the concerned Commercial Courts could prima facie be contrary to Section 15 of the Commercial Courts Act, which dealt with the transfer of pending cases.

Let the High Court look into the same and respond on it, added the Bench.

Senior Advocate and Additional Advocate General Garima Prasad, appearing on behalf of the state of Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday placed on record the notification of July 21, 2022 issued by the UP government, by which the government has constituted four additional commercial courts in UP at Meerut, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Agra and Lucknow.

However, the Apex Court had noted on Tuesday that from the notification, it appeared that those four additional commercial courts would have jurisdiction over different districts and that the aforesaid was likely to create more problems and delay in disposal of commercial cases.

The Apex Court on Wednesday directed the Registrar General of Allahabad High Court to file a specific affidavit pointing out the pendency of commercial cases/ arbitration cases either by way of execution petitions or Section 34 of the Arbitration Act under Act, 1940 or under the 1996 Act in the respective Commercial Courts originally constituted, more particularly, the pendency in the Commercial Courts at Meerut, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Agra and Lucknow and the concerned Districts, over which the aforesaid four Commercial Courts would have jurisdiction.

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