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Evident that commercial disputes are required to be dealt with as per the provisions of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015: The High Court of Sikkim

The procedure prescribed in the Commercial Courts Act, 2015(the act) is different from how a Money Suit is dealt with under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC). Section 16 of the Act relates to the amendment to the CPC. The CPC stands amended in the manner as specified in the schedule. In the case of M/s Thomas Enterprises v. N. L. Thomas [RFA/04/2018] in the Hon’ble High Court of Sikkim led through the division bench by Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan & Justice Meenakshi M. Rai.

The facts of the case are that a Request for Application was filed on 05.10.2018 against the judgement and decree dated 30.07.2018 passed by the District Judge, South Sikkim. It was dealt with a single judge and examined that a prima facie view that the matter pertained to a commercial dispute and ought to be tried as per the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 (Commercial Act). In terms of Circular No.06/HCS/Judl. dated 27.04.2021 of this court the matter was directed to be placed before the Hon’ble Chief Justice for appropriate directions. Further, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of this court revoked the circular and thereto the matter came up for hearing before this Division Bench.

The counsels from both sides expressed their view that since the dispute between the parties had not been tried as a commercial dispute there has arisen a legal conundrum and the only way out is to set aside the impugned judgment and decree and transfer the Money Suit to the Commercial Court. Section 2 (1) (c) of the act defines commercial dispute. The learned counsel for the parties agrees that the dispute in the present matter is a commercial dispute. The Money Suit filed by the respondent sought a decree against the appellants for a sum of Rs.1,29,00,728/- along with interest @ 12% per annum on and from 01.04.2014 till realization. Considering the nature of the dispute it is apparent that it is a commercial dispute.

Section 6 of the Act provides for the jurisdiction of the Commercial Courts. It has jurisdiction to try all suits and applications relating to a commercial dispute of a specified value arising out of the entire territory of the State over which it has been vested territorial jurisdiction. Section 12 provides how specified value ought to be determined in a suit, appeal or application.

An earnest glance of the Act makes it evident that commercial disputes are required to be dealt with as per the provisions of the Act. The procedure prescribed is different from how a Money Suit is dealt with under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC). Section 13 of the Act provides for appeals from decrees of the Commercial Court and Commercial Division.

The High Court of Sikkim concluded, “The failure of the learned District Judge to examine and transfer the Money Suit to the Commercial Court has resulted in defeating the very object of the enactment of the Act to provide for speedy disposal of high-value commercial disputes.

The court concludes “We are thus of the considered view that the impugned judgment and decree dated 30.07.2018 passed by the learned District Judge in the Money Suit must be set aside and the Money Suit transferred to the files of the Commercial Court. The Money Suit shall then be tried by the Commercial Court as per the provisions of the Act. It is accordingly ordered. Pending application is also disposed.

Click here to view the judgement.

Judgement reviewed by Pranav Vyas.

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