Unenforced contracts, delayed conclusions

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Dear Editor,

The December/January edition of the magazine had a good mix of knowledge and recognition with respect to the legal profession. The articles were well-written and captured the essence of some relevant topics in today’s world. The article titled “Company enquiry and criminal case can take place concurrently” had an interesting verdict by the apex court. Apart from the decision itself, what I noticed was that the employee dismissal had taken place in 1991 and the latest judgment came recently i.e. about 27 years later. I believe that the relevance of the alleged offence would have been lost in these years. Irrespective of the outcome, I feel extreme pity for those employees, who have now spent a large part of their lives (and not to forget, the money) to come thus far.

We will never be able to convince any investor or individual to have faith in the judiciary or legal system unless something is done to change this long winding judicial process. We are highlighting Make in India and Ease of Doing Business, but have we considered improving the miserable situation at the ground level? The whole idea behind the above initiatives is focused on attracting foreign investment to make India a top destination for economic growth. There have been significant improvements in our World Bank rankings in this respect as well. However, the growth momentum can be sustained in the long run only if there is a strong culture of enforcing contracts, which can be drilled through an effective judicial process. This is one area where we have consistently lagged behind. Even the World Bank ranking for Enforcing Contracts is a poor 164.

The time has certainly come for making a turnaround. There could not be a better time now to change this unhealthy practice of delayed conclusion to court matters. I would urge the concerned judicial and administrative authorities to actively consider changes to legislation to remove hurdles for speedier justice to litigants. This will go miles to boost global confidence in cementing India’s growth story on a long-term basis. It goes without saying that justice delayed is justice denied.

Sourish Mohan Mitra
Member of an in-house team doing global technology research
Gurugram

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