There should be minimal interference of courts to speed up projects: Law Ministry committee
There should be minimal interference of courts to ensure that public works projects are not stalled or delayed, a Law Ministry committee said.
New Delhi: There should be minimal interference of courts to ensure that public works projects are not stalled or delayed, a Law Ministry committee set up to review an over 50-year-old law as part of government's ease of doing business initiative, has recommended.
In a report submitted to Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, the committee said there is a need to provide guidelines for reducing the discretion granted to courts and tribunals while granting performance and injunctive reliefs.
The committee, set up in January to review the Specific Relief Act, 1963, observed that there is a need to classify diverse public utility contracts as a distinct class recognising the inherent public interest to be addressed in the Act.
The law deals with specific fulfilment of contracts.
"Any public work must progress without interruption. This requires consideration whether a court's intervention in public works should be minimal. Smooth functioning of public works projects can be effectively managed through a monitoring system and regulatory mechanism," the committee headed by Legislative Secretary G Narayan Raju has said in its report submitted on Monday.
The report also observed that the role of courts in this exercise "is to interfere to the minimum extent" so that public works projects are not impeded or stalled.
The panel said there was a need to change the approach, from damages being the rule and specific performance being the exception, to specific performance being the rule, and damages being the alternate remedy.
The report comes months after days after commercial courts were established and arbitration law amended for faster disposal of business disputes.
The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2016 and the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Amendment) Act, 2016 are aimed at speedy settlement of commercial disputes.
The new laws come amid keenness of the government to attract greater foreign investment. Certain foreign companies were said to be hesitant about doing business in India because of long-drawn litigations.
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