Friday, June 9, 2017

Lack of judicial reforms pulls down India's ranking - Times of India

A World Bank assessment on the performance of India on ease of doing business shows the largest democracy lags behind many of the sub-Saharan African countries and the east Asian nations in `enforcement of contract' largely due to the inefficient judicial system which has failed to keep up with the technological revolution that has changed the pace of the justice delivery across the world.

Giving the example of Rwanda, it says the African country has implemented the integrated electronic case management system across all courts which allows for an automatic registration of lawsuits, electronic organisation and scheduling of cases and automated claims processing. Many of the sub-Saharan African countries have done better than India, which has failed to implement crucial judicial reforms when it comes to implementing the electronic case management system. Some of the basic services such as summons are still being served using the antiquated practice. The law on adjournments is not followed in 50% of cases across courts while there is hardly any adherence to the timeline fixed for resolution of disputes, as per the findings.

An evaluation of the court structure and proceedings by the World Bank, while ranking countries on ease of doing business in its 2017 report, has painted a very grim picture for India compared to many of the sub-Saharan African countries that have done better by adopting a set of good practices, including case management, court automation and alternative dispute resolution--some of the parameters which resulted in India being ranked overall 130 among 190 countries.

The report refers to lack of electronic case management system for lawyers and judges in the courts dealing with commercial disputes in Delhi and Mumbai. There is no provision for pre-trial conference in these courts. "In addition, as the complaints cannot be filed electronically be fore the competent court and the documents cannot be served electronically , we were not given any points on that front," a government task force has observed on why India has been ranked so low in the World Bank's ease of doing business. In India, as far as commercial disputes are concerned, the complaint cannot be filed electronically in the absence of a platform within the competent court.It is not even possible to carry out service of process electronically for claims filed before the court. Only the court fees can be paid electronically and the judgments can be accessed online.


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