Commercial Courts Act, 2015, is not “a mere piece of paper”

The Delhi High Court recently disposed of an application of the Plaintiff’s in Vifor International Ltd vs Suven Life Sciences Ltd, to file additional documents. The Court only took on record few additional documents. Two of the documents allowed are the Curriculum Vitae of the two expert witnesses sought to be examined by the plaintiff and particulars in which regard could have been given by the witnesses in their affidavits by way of examination-in-chief also. Another document that was allowed was an authorisation letter of the plaintiff in favour of its witness.

The Court was not very keen on allowing documents that can be handed over during oral proceedings. The Court was also not very keen on allowing older documents for which no reason has been given in the application for late filing thereof. The counsel for the plaintiff did not press for said documents but did reserve its right to confront the witness of the defendants with the said documents.

The Court discouraged such applications and also stated that the Parliament passed the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, intending to speed up disposal of suits. But a series of obstacles are put before the court tending to make the legislation “a mere piece of paper”. The judgment listed a series of hurdles which delayed disposal of suits and stated that the same should be avoided.

The Court said that the effort to expedite, endeavoured by the Commercial Courts Act, cannot be only by the Courts, as appears to be understood, but must be by all the stakeholders i.e. litigants as well as the counsels. The Court directed the Stakeholders to pay extra attention to,

  1. Making precise/concise pleadings spelling out basis of claim or defence and to avoid making unnecessary pleas, which add to length of pleadings and ultimately lead to unnecessary issues being framed, evidence being led, which has no relevance at the time of final adjudication;
  2. Documents they are required to file in support of their claim or defence and/or to disprove the claim / defence of other, especially at the time of filing pleadings, to avoid filing of applications as these;
  3. At the outset only, prepare an entire blue print of their case/defence, including of witnesses to be examined, by studying the law and judgments on the subject controversy, including the arguments to be ultimately addressed;
  4. It is also found that whenever applications are filed, the opposite party / counsel, out of habit, seek time for filing reply. Most of such interim applications need no reply. Moreover, the law on various aspects which come up for consideration in such interim applications, is by and large settled and any counsel worth his salt knows the outcome of such applications.
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