Published on: 20th August, 2022 at 19:00 IST
The Supreme Court has called for a response from the Allahabad High Court as to whether pending arbitration matters or commercial cases can be transferred to the concerned commercial courts or not.
The bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna was hearing a plea regarding the delay in commercial disputes being decided in UP.
The high court was asked to reply whether the said move should be in contradiction to Section 15 of the Commercial Courts Act or not.
The court had earlier issued directions with respect to proceedings of arbitral awards and applications to set aside awards under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 in UP.
Huge pendency has been a problem in the state with respect to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the Commercial Courts Act, 2015. Demands have been raised by the bar associations to speed up trials in these matters.
The bench noted:
“Prima facie, not transferring the pending arbitration matters or commercial cases to the concerned commercial courts can be said to be contrary to Section 15 of the Commercial Courts Act. Section 15 of the Commercial Courts Act deals with respect to the transfer of pending cases, which reads as under: “15.”
The counsel for the government of UP said that the government has already constituted four new commercial courts. To which the bench said that since the new courts have different jurisdictions in the respective districts, this would cause further delays.
“There may be a justification for additional commercial courts at Meerut, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Agra, and Lucknow, as the case may be, but there may not be any justification for additional commercial courts in other districts where the pendency of the commercial courts may be less than 750/1000. Ms. Garima Prasad, learned Senior Advocate, also prays for time to look into the notification and, if required, to take a corrective measure….” the bench said
The Supreme Court had directed the UP state government to consider the proposal made by the Allahabad High Court to create additional courts in the state in May this year. For this, the high court filed an affidavit reporting the pending cases and that execution petitions be distributed among the judicial officers.
9678 execution petitions and 1373 petitions under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act have been disposed of, and that the cases are transferred to the Additional District Judges in terms of Civil Law. This was objected by the the Attorney General K K Venugopal that the Court can not intervene in the administrative matters of the high courts.
Replying to this, the apex court bench noted:
“Only in a case where the High Court has failed to perform its duty of monitoring or supervision and even though it can be seen that before this Court intervened, no serious efforts were made by the High Court on the administrative side to see that commercial cases are disposed of at the earliest.”
Therefore, the bench has listed the matter to be heard on August 16, 2022.