`Legal system must constantly adapt itself to change`

PM Singh inaugurated the 17th Commonwealth Law Conference in Hyderabad.

Last Updated: Feb 06, 2011, 18:10 PM IST

Hyderabad: Developing countries needed a legal system that was conducive to rapid economic growth and had a built-in mechanism to promote equitable distribution of gains from progress, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday.

“A sound legal system based on the rule of law and effective and speedy contract enforcement, are a major determinant of a favourable macro economic development,” he said while inaugurating the 17th Commonwealth Law Conference here.

“It is my firm belief that meaningful solutions to the problem of mass poverty that prevails in developing countries can be found only in the framework of a rapidly expanding economy,” the Prime Minister said at the conference held at Hyderabad’s International Convention Centre.

Dr. Singh said the legal order must constantly adapt itself to a fast-changing world.

“That is the only way it (legal system) can retain its relevance. The role of courts and judges in making law an instrument of social stability and progressive change cannot be over-emphasised,” he said.

The Prime Minister asked jurists and thinkers to reflect on ways and means that would ensure the continuing strength and resilience of liberal institutions of democracy and the rule of law in the framework of a rapidly expanding economy.

Noting that the rule of law was an instrument of progressive change, social and political stability and economic development, the Prime Minister said constitutional democracy with an unwavering commitment to the rule of law was the best choice for emerging economies that sought justice — political, economic and social — for all.

“Considering the reality and scale of conflict, deprivation and exploitation that affect the lives of millions of people in the developing countries, they need to take bold and imaginative measures to pursue the path of development with a human face.

“Any political system must ensure equality of opportunity and access to fair and neutral processes and should empower citizens to respect, protect and fulfil human rights,” he said.

The Indian experience of ensuring unity of its people amidst diversity could be of use to other countries that faced the challenge of establishing a national identity despite cultural and religious diversities in their societies, he said.

Union Law Minister M.Veerappa Moily, Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia, Chief Justice of Pakistan Ifthikar Muhammed Chaudhry, Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L.Narasimhan, Chief Minister.N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamlesh Sharma, Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court Nisar Ahmed Kakru were among others present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister left for New Delhi after inaugurating the conference.

PTI