The Commercial Courts Act, 2015, was enacted by the NDA government as part of numerous legislative reforms to improve India’s economic growth, and boost its image as an investment destination. The Bill tabled in 2015 focused on raising India’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. For this, it made several modifications to the process of civil litation under the Civil Procedure Code. In 2018, the Act underwent some major amendments, including the reduction of minimum valuation of commercial cases from INR 1 crores to INR 3 lakhs.
Given that the Act has witnessed several shifts in goalposts and objectives over the years of discourse, we have undertaken a comprehensive review of this historicity, to unravel the legislative intent behind setting up exclusive commercial courts. Furthermore, we have also empirically gathered data to evaluate how effectively the Commercial Courts Act has been implemented, and how far has it attained its stated objective of expediting high-value commercial litigation.
In this background, our impact evaluation study has found that through this Act, while accomplishing political optics, the government has failed to address systemic challenges of the poor litigation culture in India. Moreover, the implementation of the Act is haphazard and erratic, which has adversely impacted its effectiveness as a set of procedural reforms for commercial litigation.