Developing countries needed a legal system that was conducive to rapid economic dev and one that had a bulit-in mechanism to promote equitable distribution of gains from dev, PM Manmohan Singh said while inaugurating the 17th Commonwealth Law Conference in Hyderabad 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.”

“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 at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre.

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

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

The Prime Minister urged the 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 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 empower citizens to respect, protect and fulfil human rights,” the prime minister 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.

Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia, Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court Nisar Ahmed Kakru and others also spoke on the occasion. The Prime Minister left for New Delhi after inaugurating the conference.

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