India fares poorly on the “ease of doing business” metric in global markets because investors are wary of its lengthy judicial processes, said Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Sunday, while addressing a global audience alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi and Thakur were speaking at a conference titled “National Initiative Towards Strengthening Arbitration and Enforcement in India”, organised by the Niti Aayog. Judges of Indian and foreign courts attended the New Delhi event.
Modi said developing a strong system of arbitration, in which grievances can be addressed outside of courts, will help resolve business disputes while also easing the workload of India’s courts. “Enabling an alternative dispute resolution ecosystem is a national priority for India,” Modi said. Thakur said India ranks 130 among 189 countries on the ease of doing business. He also recommended alternative methods of dispute redressal including arbitration, mediation and conciliation.
Thakur said there are 50 million cases pending in Indian courts, of which judges manage to get through about 20 million every year. Thakur has over the past year repeatedly implored Modi to increase judicial appointments saying the courts are overstretched. In April, he had broken down during an event while saying the Centre needed to nearly double the number of judges, from 21,000 to 40,0000 to deal with the avalanche of cases. Modi had quickly assured Thakur that the Centre will work with the judiciary to resolve the crisis.