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Jurisdiction of Civil Judges in Delhi District Court to increase soon: Delhi HC informed

New Delhi: The Delhi Government has informed the Delhi High Court that it has cleared the proposal in furtherance of the resolution dated February 9, 2022, of the Full Court of Delhi High Court regarding the enhancement of pecuniary jurisdiction of Civil Judges of Delhi Courts and Pecuniary appellate jurisdiction of District Judges of Delhi.
Principal Secretary (Law) Bharat Parashar filed the Delhi government's response in a Public Interest Litigation Petition filed by Lawyer and Activist Amit Sahni the proposal for enhancement of pecuniary jurisdiction of Civil Judges of Delhi Courts.
The pecuniary appellate jurisdiction of District Judges of Delhi has been approved by the Law Minister and Chief Minister of Delhi and the same has also been approved by the Lt Governor of Delhi on January 2, 2024.
"To raise the pecuniary appellate jurisdiction of the District Judge to Rs Twenty lakh by amending section 39 (1) (a) of the Punjab Courts Act, 1918 by the Parliament."
In Delhi Civil Judges of Delhi Courts adjudicate matters for jurisdiction upto 3 Lacs only while in neighbourhoods of Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad enjoy unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction.
The issue was raised by Advocate Amit Sahni, a Lawyer and Activist, who had filed a Writ Petition before the Delhi High Court for rational distribution and enhancement of pecuniary jurisdiction of Civil Judges posted at District Courts in Delhi for adjudicating original suits from the present maximum pecuniary jurisdiction i.e. Rs 3 lakh.
The amount was disposed of by the bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on December 1, 2021, by saying that "Rs 3 lakhs is a very nominal amount, we will look at it from the administrative side."
Advocate Amit Sahni submitted that the pecuniary jurisdiction of Civil Judges posted at various Delhi Courts has been changed from time to time starting from Rs 25,000, Rs 1 lakh and finally upto Rs 3 lakh in 2003.
In this backdrop, the plea argued that there has been no change in the pecuniary jurisdiction of Civil Judged posted at various Courts of Delhi since 2003 while the pecuniary jurisdiction of District Judges and Additional District Judges has increased nearly 10 times i.e. Rs 20 lakhs (in 2003) to Rs 2 crore (in 2015).
"It is pertinent to note that District Courts in neighbourhoods of Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad enjoy unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction. District Courts in Delhi need to be equated with District courts in adjourning areas of Delhi so far as pecuniary jurisdiction is concerned," the plea further stated.
It was further the case of the petitioner that the pecuniary value of Rs 3 lakh entrusted to Civil Judges is extremely low and since no property in Delhi is worth "Rs 3 lakh", the same has led to stern stagnation as Civil Judges are adjudicating Injunction Suits and petty suits for recovery amounting upto Rs 3 lakh only.
Sahni thus averred that if the pecuniary jurisdiction of the civil judges is increased upto Rs 20 to 30 lakh, it would lessen the burden upon the District as well as the Additional District Judges as some of such cases would then be heard by Civil Judges.
Now finally Delhi government and the Hon'ble LG have approved the proposal for enhancing the jurisdiction of Civil Judges of Delhi from Rs 3 lakh to 20 lakh and pecuniary appellate jurisdiction of Delhi Judges upto 20 lakh.
"I am hopeful that the increase in pecuniary jurisdiction would add some professional satisfaction amongst Civil Judges of Delhi, the same would resolve the pendency of cases before District Judges/Add. District Judges of Delhi," said Amit Sahni.
"It would further reduce the burden of appeals before Delhi High Court as appeals upto Rs. 20 Lacs would be adjudicated by Additional District Judges, District Judges of Delhi," added Sahni.

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