In 1991 the floodgates opened for investments in India. This, coupled with a rapid increase in inbound foreign trade and commerce, saw a big rise in high stake commercial disputes. As a result there was a need for an effective but speedy mechanism to resolve these disputes.
The Law Commission of India, in its 188th report on “Proposals for Constitution of Hi-Tech Fast Track Commercial Division in High Courts”, recommended the creation of a commercial division in each high court. The lower house of the Indian parliament passed the Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009 in December 2009. This bill was forwarded to the upper house, which referred it to a select committee for its recommendations.
The bill provides that every high court may, with the approval of the state government, constitute a commercial division to adjudicate commercial disputes. The term commercial disputes, as defined in the bill, is broad and tries to cover virtually any dispute arising out of ordinary transactions of merchants, bankers and traders. It may include disputes relating to enforcement or interpretation of mercantile documents, export or import of merchandise, carriage of goods, franchising, distribution and licensing agreements, maintenance and consultancy agreements, mercantile agency and mercantile usage, partnership, technology development in software, hardware, networks, internet, website and intellectual property and other commercial disputes as notified by the central government.
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Vivek Vashi is the mainstay of the litigation department at Bharucha & Partners.
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