SRINAGAR: The establishment of commercial courts set in motion by the Governor led administration last year is yet to make any practical progress.
The aim behind the establishment of courts was to reduce work load from existing courts, and offer speedy justice to an aggrieved party, pushing commercial activity in the state.
The enactment of Jammu and Kashmir Commercial Courts Bill was done, but no other step has been taken so far since September 2018, when the bill was given assent by State Administrative Council (SAC).
SAC had officially announced that two commercial courts, one each for Kashmir and Jammu, in the beginning. The total number of courts required were to be decided by the joint consultation of the High Court.
“High Court has done its part of identifying number of commercial courts needed. This was done after examining the total number of commercial disputes,” said an official of Law department familiar with the case. “This information was shared with the government but, no decision has come so far.”
The judiciary is already suffering due to lack of man force and infrastructure. According to government figures over two lakh cases are pending in various courts and several posts of judges in the state high court are vacant.
In the High Court, 84,587 cases are pending including 76,314 civil and 8273 criminal cases. In subordinate courts, there are 1,17,745 cases pending, of which 56,247 are civil and 61,498 criminal in nature. There are also 4000 pending contempt petitions in the High Court.
A retired judge said that establishment of commercial courts could have been handy and helpful to a large extent. According to the bill, the courts could solve more than 20 different types of disputes which include franchising, management, consultancy, distribution, and licensing agreements. It has also included ordinary transaction of merchants, bankers, etc.
The law department official said that no steps seem to be taken in this regard. When, and how much time will it take, can’t be predicted, the official added.