London: The government will soon take a decision on opening up the legal service after consulting the Bar Council which has some reservations on the issue, law minister M Veerappa Moily has said.
“On opening up of the legal service sector, the Bar Council has some reservations and we are in dialogue with them. Hopefully some decision will come soon,” Moily said at the India House here Thursday evening.
About the government’s decision to withdraw the case against Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Bofors deal, he said “we wanted to be very transparent on the issue.”
“The decision to withdraw the case was taken after due deliberations and after obtaining legal opinion and keeping in mind the ruling of the Delhi High court in February 2004 that there is no case under the Prevention of Corruption Act.”
“On 3 October, our public prosecutor will file an application before the Magistrates court for withdrawal of the case,” he said.
Answering a spate of questions on British Law Society’s demand for opening up legal services in India, the minister, who is on a five-day official visit here, noted that the UK-based Indian lawyers and law firms also have their own grievances and that the matter is before Bombay high court.
“In principle we agree, but there should be reciprocity and we want to take the Bar Council of India, with us. Bar Council has to firm up its opinion,” Moily said.
“Business is becoming global, legal problems are also becoming global. Our arbitration law should be made more investor friendly. We have a long way to go. We have to compete globally. Our banks are doing cross-border business, industrialists are crossing borders and going everywhere,” Moily said.
India’s High Commissioner to the UK, Nalin Surie, said Indian lawyers were already writing cases for others from abroad.
Noting that India got into the liberalisation process long back, Moily said “We are making a place for ourselves in international trade and commerce. Foreign direct investment is increasing by leaps and bounds.”
He pointed out that the Law and Justice Department had dismantled many of the barriers.
Referring to establishment of Commercial Courts, the law minister said “this will create better atmosphere. India will be the most preferred destination.”
Asserting that he was “very proud of the judicial system in India”, Moily said “we want to introduce state-of-the-art system in judiciary. I want to make our system the best in the world.”
Enumerating steps taken by the government to tackle the pending cases in various courts in the country, the law minister said “Fast Track Courts have been established to deal with the cases and the results are very good.”
He said government planned to open 71 new CBI courts. “Within a year or two we will be in a position to reduce the cases to a great deal and within 3 to 4 years, there will be no cases pending for more than a year.”
The law minister said the power of appointment of district judges has been fine-tuned and within six months all vacancies would be filled up. On the other hand, National Judicial Academy was training high court judges.
Moily also said that he had an excellent discussion with British Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw.