Judicial work in Delhi High Court was today hampered with a majority of cases getting adjourned as DHCBA called a two-day strike to protest against passage of a bill by Rajya Sabha to increase the pecuniary jurisdiction of district courts.
Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) put up notices outside each court informing the lawyers as well as litigants about the strike and names of proxy counsel.
Lawyers abstained from appearing in matters and only proxy counsel were present to get a next date for hearing in the cases listed before various benches of the High Court.
However, in some matters the court issued notice and sought replies from the respondents in the cases.
Pecuniary jurisdiction refers to the jurisdiction of a court over a suit based on the amount or value of its subject matter.
DHCBA had yesterday passed a resolution, which received support of the association’s Executive Committee but not of its president, calling for “total abstention from work” on May 8 and May 11 in protest against the passage of pecuniary jurisdiction bill.
It said that the bill was passed despite assurance given to them by Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda that it would be taken up with the Commercial Divisions Bill and not in isolation. DHCBA strongly condemned “this abject volte-face by Union Law Minister”.
DHCBA and the district court bar associations have been at loggerheads for several years now over the bill – which will reduce workload of the Delhi High Court by transferring thousands of civil suits, valued up to Rs two crore, to the six district courts.
The lawyers of the six district courts were on strike since April 22 over delay in tabling of the Delhi High Court (Amendment) bill, to increase pecuniary jurisdiction of the trial courts here, and have now decided to continue their protest till it is passed by the Lok Sabha.
If the bill is also passed by Lok Sabha, Delhi High Court would have jurisdiction over suits which are above the value of Rs two crore. The value earlier was Rs 20 lakh.
Consequently, the bill empowers the High Court Chief Justice to transfer any pending suit to a relevant subordinate court.