Commercial Courts Act, 2015: An Empirical Impact Evaluation

Reports by Judicial Reform · July 5, 2019
Author(s): Vaidehi Misra and Ameen Jauhar

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.

Commercial Courts Act, 2015: An Empirical Impact Evaluation

About Vaidehi Misra:

Vaidehi is a Research Fellow with the Judicial Reforms vertical. She has an affinity for large data sets and impact evaluation studies and is currently working on issues surrounding judicial capacity and transparency. She has a B.A.LLB. (Hons.) degree from Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat and an LLM from the University of California, Berkeley with a focus on jurisprudence and social policy. She has been published in newspapers and digital platforms such as the Hindu, Business Standard, Bloomberg Quint, the Wire and the Firstpost. She has been a substantive editor for the Berkeley Journal for Gender Law and Justice and a contributing author for a book on Sustainable Development Goals. She has previously worked in the chambers of Mr. Gaurab Banerji, Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India, assisting in landmark cases in the field of commercial law, arbitration, competition and constitutional law. Link to full bio

About Ameen Jauhar:

Ameen is a Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi, and is leading advocacy for the JALDI mission, which is a collaboration between Vidhi and Tata Trust. His work at Vidhi deals with judicial reforms and access to justice issues in India. Ameen is interested in furthering evidence-based policy, following which he recently completed his master’s programme from the Institute of Education (University College London), focusing on the use of research evidence in policy processes, and was awarded an MSc. with an overall distinction. Before this, he completed his undergraduate legal studies from the W.B. National University of Juridical Sciences [B.A. LL.B. (Hons.)] in 2012. Prior to Vidhi, Ameen worked at J. Sagar Associates, in the firm’s regulatory and policy team. He has practised in the Supreme Court of India, the Delhi High Court, and numerous tribunals. Link to full bio