New Delhi, May 27:
The new government was for a stable, transparent and investment friendly regime and for “good governance, good legal regime is very necessary”, said Ravi Shankar Prasad who took charge as union law and justice minister Tuesday.
“Those who invest in India must have an assurance of stable financial regime which should be fair, non-discriminatory and transparent,” he said, but warned against corruption which “would be dealt with very seriously”.
“Any extraneous consideration would be dealt with very seriously,” he added.
Prasad said that India is a country that is governed by the rule of law and for “good governance, good legal regime is very necessary”.
Responding to a query on the Vodafone retrospective tax controversy, Prasad said it must be avoided. There must be a “fair investment regime, fair policy and tax regime.”
On the judiciary, he said that there would be improvement in infrastructure including more courts, more judges. He said more courts would be set up wherever they are required.
On the appointment of judges, he said the Bharatiya Janata Party manifesto spoke about setting up a National Judicial Commission, and he would also go into the existing mechanism of appointing judges.
Contending it was his first day as minister, Prasad parried all questions including the apex court collegium’s recommendation on the appointment of four judges including two lawyers – Rohinton Nariman and Gopal Subramaniam.
On Lokpal, he said an improved version was enacted into law after the bill was vetted by the select committee but he will look into the issue. The BJP had resisted all the attempts by the outgoing UPA government to appoint a Lokpal and its members shortly before the general election.
Prasad avoided any direct answer on the question of whether the death penalty should be retained or abolished, saying that the different benches of the Supreme Court have voiced varying opinions. He noted that different countries have different positions.
He said the new government would like India to emerge as a hub of arbitration and conciliation, describing it as a priority area of the government.
Before the media interaction, Prasad assumed charge and had a meeting with senior officials of his ministry. The officials of the departments of legal affairs, legislative department and justice gave detailed PowerPoint presentations regarding the achievements and the future plans to the new minister.
This is the second stint of Prasad in the ministry. He was minister of state for law and justice in the earlier National Democratic Alliance government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.