Ravi Shankar Prasad urges CJI to help India grow as investment hub

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NEW DELHI: Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has urged Chief Justice of India (CJI) J S Khehar to help make India a “favourable investment destination for domestic as well as global investors” by resolving commercial disputes pending in courts at the earliest.

In a letter to the CJI, Prasad said protracted litigations discourage foreign investors from investing in the country, and hence the need to speed up proceedings in top cities.

“I am sure that the Supreme Court can provide the necessary leadership for the proper implementation of the existing provisions in CPC (civil procedure code) relating to grant of adjournments, adherence to timelines and electronic filing and electronic service of summons in total 71 city courts of Delhi (11) and Mumbai (60) immediately,” he wrote in the letter written earlier this week.

Such a move will help provide timely and effective enforcement of contracts and lad to “a marked improvement” in India’s ranking as an investment destination, the minister said in the letter. ET reviewed a copy of the letter. Prasad has urged the CJI to seek assistance of Delhi and Mumbai High Courts in implementing CPC provisions at the earliest.

India was ranked at a lowly 130 in the 2017 edition of the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report, which compares the business regulations across 190 economies, moving one place up from 131 in 2016. The overall ranking is an average of the various sub-indicators, which include time taken to start a business, time taken to get construction permits, paying taxes and enforcing contracts.

In his letter to Khehar, Prasad said ‘enforcing contract’ indicator in the Doing Business report measures the time and cost for resolving a standardised commercial dispute through a local court of first instance, which for the purpose of the ranking are the Delhi District Court and the Mumbai City Civil Court as of now and in this indicator India’s ranking has improved from 178 lowest rank in 2016 to 172 in 2017.

“The ranking on this indicator is dependent on the quality of judicial process index, evaluating whether each economy has adopted a series of good practices that promote quality and efficiency in the Court system,” the minister said in the letter.

“There are certain issues which could be addressed by the judiciary by their initiatives in the larger interest of efficient and effective delivery of justice,” he wrote.