Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday said that developing countries need
a legal system conducive to both rapid economic development and
promoting equitable distribution of the fruits of development.
"The developing countries need a legal system which is conducive
both to rapid economic development and which also has built-in
mechanism to promote the equitable distribution of the fruits and
gains of development," he said while inaugurating the 17th
Commonwealth Law Conference here.
Manmohan Singh said that the government is committed to the
pursuit of inclusive economic growth.
"The welfare of the poor and the common man is the centerpiece of
our policies," he told the gathering of over 800 judges, lawyers
and other legal practitioners from 54 countries of the
The prime minister claimed that India's economic growth remains
firmly anchored in the Nehruvian vision of an egalitarian society.
"We have remained steadfast in our commitment to implement
constitutional directives to ensure that our policies and laws
uphold human dignity. While opening up our economy and freeing it
from the shackles of bureaucratic controls over the years we have
endeavoured to pursue distributive justice as mandative in our
magnificent constitution," he said.
Citing various articles of the constitution, the prime minister
said inclusive growth was an unfinished project and the nation had
a long way to go in this direction.
Manmohan Singh underlined the need for the legal order in the fast
changing world to constantly adapt itself to change.
"That is the only way it can retain its relevance. In this
context, the role of courts and judges in making law an instrument
of social stability and progressive change cannot be over
He said the rule of law can no longer be divorced from global
"The challenges the world community faces as a whole demand a
purposeful alignment of domestic policies and laws with the
evolving international laws and norms. This is necessary to
address the common challenges facing humanity. These include
international terrorism, persistence of poverty, malnutrition
amidst rapid growth, protection of human rights, problems of
climate change and energy security," said the prime minister.
"Irrevocable commitment to democracy based on rule of law remains
the proudest achievement of Indian state since independence. Our
understanding of the rule of law as the anchor of democratic and a
just society is inextricably linked to the preservation of
individual liberty and freedom of all our citizens."
"We believe that the powers of state to be applied to the
advancement of the basic human rights of all our citizens but at
the same time it should be so constrained by rule of law as to
advance civil and political rights of an individual and thus
prevent oppressive governance," he added.
Manmohan Singh said he was of the firm belief that the solution to
mass poverty can be found only in the framework of a rapidly
"It is my firm belief that meaningful and effective solutions to
the problems of mass poverty that prevails in many developing
countries can be found only in the framework of a rapidly
expanding economy. Rapid economic growth is a prime necessity. It
is necessary to create a macro economic environment that is
conducive to the promotion of savings, investment,
entrepreneurship, innovation and management of rapid technological
changes," the prime minister pointed out.
The theme of the conference - "Emerging economies and the rule of
law: Challenges and opportunities" - was especially relevant "when
a new global architecture is taking place and there is
restlessness in the air in many developing countries," he added.
He suggested that the Indian experience of ensuring unity of its
people amidst diversity could be of use to many other countries
that face the challenge of establishing a national identity in
spite of cultural and religious diversities in their societies.
"Constitutional democracy with an unwavering commitment to the
rule of law seems to me the best choice for emerging economies
which seek justice - political, economic and social - for all,"