‘Let’s work together to fix commercial disputes fast’

Indian industry and the government must together approach the judiciary to press for faster resolution of commercial disputes that take years to unravel, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday, adding that it was up to the judiciary to accept ideas like limiting the number of adjournments allowed in the hearings of such disputes.

“Capping adjournments, which I have been a proponent of, needs a buy-in from the judiciary,” Mr. Goyal asserted. “So maybe what we need to do, is the government and industry both go together and engage with the judiciary. I assure you our judiciary has really outstanding individuals with a very high degree of understanding and empathy,” he added.

Observing that the government was working on making mediation a preferred mechanism to resolve delays in settling commercial disputes ‘rather than everyone rushing to court’, the minister said a lot depended on industry’s readiness to work with the government in expediting a solution.

“You saw the comment of the Honourable Chief Justice of India that they are only nudging us to do our work better, whether it’s in industry or government. But if both of us go together with our difficulties, I can assure you we will not find the courts or the honourable judges lacking in their support. They are in fact, all the time wishing to support us to do better, whether in government, industry, executive or every walk of life,” Mr. Goyal added.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) could work with the law ministry and industry to engage some ‘well-meaning top jurists’ and come up with some solution within the Constitution’s bounds, the minister said at a conference on ‘Ease of Doing Business for Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

“We can’t take away some of the freedoms that are available, particularly the writ jurisdictions of the court. You or I can’t suggest that to the court. But we can ask them for their guidance on how to make this process faster and easier,” Mr. Goyal underlined.

The minister also exhorted businesses to tap local suppliers even if that entails slightly higher costs in order to help build a ‘resilient supply ecosystem’ in the country.

Citing the example of Korea where companies only buy local steel despite Indian steel being equally good and competitively priced, the minister said that this was not done because of any diktat from their government.

“It’s their local industry that buys domestically and doesn’t give an entry to all our steel players. So I am just raising a point for your consideration. Can we progress as partners of each other, looking beyond costs? You may have to compromise on some small costs in the short run, but imagine the jobs and opportunities you will create for those who have been left behind in the development cycle, if you gave that little support to your own people, your own industry,” he pointed out.

Building a resilient ecosystem would pay off in the long run, as was evident during the pandemic, Mr. Goyal concluded, reiterating the need for more ‘industry-to-industry cooperation’.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 3:39:06 AM |

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