•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student
other

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

BJP manifesto v Cong manifesto: Same same except gay sex, FDI, cow protection

Promises, promises, promises...
Promises, promises, promises...

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which hope to be the next governing party of India in the elections that kicked off polling in Assam today, has released its long-awaited manifesto.

But lawyers will have to make up their own mind, despite the outgoing Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman having announced that he would, in “a personal capacity” as “representative of 1.7m lawyers”, campaign for BJP prime minister candidate Narendra Modi (and that every lawyer “must” vote for Modi).

Legally India has compiled and contrasted the points most affecting litigating and corporate lawyers in the BJP manifesto, against the still-ruling Congress Party’s manifesto.

Executive manifest

In terms of vagueness and the general gist, both are mostly identical without any new ideas, though the BJP provided a little bit more granular detail on what they actually want to do (while also recycling many platitudes and standard Congress policies that have not seen much action).

The only real differences, for lawyers:

The BJP proposes to set up “a comprehensive National e-Library, empowering Lawyers”.

Congress, on the Section 377 hot potato, claims it would “enact a law to ensure that consensual sexual relations between adults of the same-sex are not criminalised”.

The BJP pledged it would double the number of courts and judges at the lower level; this doesn’t sound completely new, with with Congress having recently announced last month to grow all high court benches by 25 per cent, and “increasing number of judges” being a buzzword for years now.

The BJP unequivocally said it would allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in all sectors except multi-brand retail; Congress wrote “there is no room for any aversion” to FDI. No explicit word on legal market liberalisation, as expected.

The BJP also expressly touted in its manifesto the wish to make India into a global arbitration and legal process outsourcing (LPO) hub, which, while not in Congress’ manifesto, are lines that has been parroted by successive lawyers, Congress law ministers and others.

BJP accused Congress of “tax terrorism” in its tax policies, while Congress said it would “ensure that the unpredictable risk of retroactive taxation is avoided” – ironic, given it was the Congress government that taxed Vodafone retroactively.

On dealing with pendency, most parties have trotted out the same platitudes, with the BJP putting the Congress’ own (four-year-old) National Litigation Policy into its manifesto, after the latter hasn’t done much to implement it.

The BJP also said it would “periodically review and refine/ scrap outdated laws”, which could sound like stating the obvious and is surprising only for the fact that no one has been listening to the Law Commission for the last couple of years.

Unsurprisingly, the BJP has against said that it “believes in” the Uniform Civil Code under the guise of gender equality, to effectively abolish Muslim Personal Law, though it has stopped short of promising to implement it.

Go vote, and good luck!

Download:

Also read:

Thanks to @sowmyarao_ on Twitter for some of these suggestions. If there’s anything important we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments.

Manifestos, compared

BJP manifesto

Congress manifesto ([record in square brackets])

set up a comprehensive National e-Library, empowering Lawyers.

N/A

N/A

Section 377: The Indian National Congress will enact a law to ensure that consensual sexual relations between adults of the same-sex, are not criminalised.

We will: accord high priority to judicial reforms to address the issue of appointment of judges, filling the vacancies, opening new courts, setting up a mechanism for speedy clearance of the backlog of cases at various levels in the judiciary.

initiate a mission mode project for filling the vacancies in the judiciary and for doubling the number of courts and judges in the subordinate judiciary.

create a fund for modernization of courts to improve the operational efficiency of courts.

The government has produced a clear road map for judicial reform and established a National Mission for Justice System Delivery and a National Court Management Systems Committee housed in the Supreme Court and operating under its auspices.

[Congress law minister Kapil Sibal announced growing all high court benches by 25% in March 2014]

The funding of the judicial system, including through funds made available by the Finance Commission, has witnessed a quantum increase. The number of judges increased by almost 50%.

give special emphasis to the development of Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanisms – like Lok Adalats, Arbitration and Conciliation centres.

create courts specially equipped to deal with IPR cases.

develop India into a Global Hub for Arbitration

We will continue to promote and strengthen Gram Nyayalayas across the country.

UPA Government has unleashed 'Tax terrorism' and 'uncertainty', which not only creates anxiety amongst the business class and negatively impacts the investment climate, but also dents the image of the country. BJP realizes the importance of having a Tax Policy Roadmap, so that people are aware of the future and plan accordingly.

We will:

  • provide a non adversarial and conducive tax environment
  • rationalize and simplify the tax regime
  • overhaul the dispute resolution mechanisms
  • bring on board all State governments in adopting GST, addressing all their concerns
  • provide tax incentives for investments in research and development, geared towards indigenization of technology and innovation

We will introduce the Goods and Services Tax Bills and a new Direct Tax Code Bill in Parliament and ensure they are enacted within one year.

We will ensure that the unpredictable risk of retroactive taxation is avoided.

Put out a clear policy on tax treatment of foreign firms and Merger & Acquisitions (M & A) transactions while ensuring that taxes are paid by multinational / foreign entities in the jurisdiction in which the profits are earned.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Barring the multi-brand retail sector, FDI will be allowed in sectors wherever needed for job and asset creation, infrastructure and acquisition of niche technology and specialized expertise. BJP is committed to protecting the interest of small and medium retailers, SMEs and those employed by them. The FIPBs (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) functioning shall be made more efficient and investor-
friendly

We will promote greater integration with the global economy and encourage Foreign Direct Investment, especially in labour intensive sectors.

Current Account Deficit: Our Current Account Deficit can be financed only by foreign investment, whether it is Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) or Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) or External Commercial Borrowing (ECB) or any other kind of foreign inflow.  

Hence, there is no room for any aversion to foreign investment.

Corruption is a manifestation of poor Governance. Moreover, it reflects the bad intentions of those sitting in power. All pervasive corruption under the Congress-led UPA has become a 'National Crisis'.

We will establish a system, which eliminates the scope for corruption.

We will do this through:

  • public awareness
  • technology enabled e-Governance - minimizing the discretion in the citizen-government interface.
  • system-based, policy-driven governance - making it transparent.
  • rationalization and simplification of the tax regime - which is currently repulsive for honest tax payers.
  • simplification of the processes and procedures at all levels - bestowing faith in the citizens,
  • institutions and establishments.

By minimizing the scope for corruption, we will ensure minimization of the generation of black money. BJP is committed to initiate the process of tracking down and bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks and offshore accounts. We will set up a Task Force for this purpose and to recommend amendments to existing laws or enact new laws. The process of bringing back black money to India what belongs to India, will be put in motion on priority. We will also proactively engage with foreign Governments to facilitate information sharing on black money.

We will enact the remaining anti-corruption and accountability bills that were blocked by the opposition

We will ensure the immediate passage of The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, The Public Procurement Bill, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill and the Judicial Appointments Bill.

Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, The Public Procurement Bill, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill and the Judicial Appointments Bill.

  • undertake Banking reforms to enhance ease and access, as well as accountability.

NPAs have increased sharply over the past few years and the trend continues. BJP will take necessary steps to reduce NPAs in Banking sector.

Also, BJP will set up a strong regulatory framework for the non-banking financial companies to protect the investors.

Lay out a clear roadmap for dealing with immediate issues of public sector banks, including recapitalisation, Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), operational autonomy, human resource development and succession planning in each bank.

set up a National Judicial Commission for the appointment of judges in higher judiciary.

The Indian National Congress has introduced a Judicial Appointments Bill in Parliament establishing a new method of appointing judges through a Judicial Commission. The Bill will be enacted after consultation and consensus building over the mechanisms proposed in the Bill.

The Congress-led UPA government introduced the Judicial Accountability Bill to bring about more transparency in the appointment of judges. We shall make every effort for the enactment of this bill at the earliest.

BJP is committed to ensure Justice for All - justice which is prompt and accessible. Understanding that Justice Delayed is Justice Denied, we will adopt a multi-pronged approach to address the high pendency of cases in our judicial system.

set up a separate class of courts for cases involving specified commercial laws which fast track the litigation process.

iInitiate [sic] the computerization and networking of courts all over the country.

extend fast track courts to all layers of the judiciary.

implement the National Litigation Policy in letter and spirit to reduce average pendency time of cases. - review and reduce significantly the number of cases, in which the Government is a litigant in the next five years.

Reducing Delays 6.
The Indian National Congress government will support all measures taken by the judiciary to improve court management so as to ensure quick and timely disposal of cases. A strategy will be developed for disposing of long delayed cases. Due consideration will be given to expanding use of fast-track courts.

Fast-track courts have been continued and supported.

For the first time in decades, pendency of cases has begun to come down even as new filings have been going up. In the 2014-2019 period, the Indian National Congress will bring in a new wave of far reaching legal and judicial reforms aimed at transforming the current legal system.

[National Litigation Policy to reduce government litigation, announced by then Congress law minister Veerappa Moily in 2010, not implemented]

 

reform the criminal justice system to make dispensation of justice simpler, quicker and more effective and after examining the recommendations of the earlier reports on this subject.

We will bring in a new wave of far reaching legal and judicial reforms aimed at transforming the current legal system.

There has been significant investment in improving the infrastructure and the working conditions of judges. Judicial and legal education has been substantially expanded. 

aim to enhance the number of women in the Bar as well as Bench, reducing the gender gap in judiciary.

We will support all initiatives to make the higher and lower judiciaries truly representative of the diversity of our society, especially with respect to gender, caste, religion and region. This will be done in consultation with and with the guidance of the Chief Justice of India and his/her companion judges and without derogation from the independence of the judiciary.

develop India into a Global Hub for Legal Process Outsourcing.

N/A

evolve a national network of specialized universities having expertise in complementary domains- like Forensics, Arbitration, IPR, International Law, etc.

N/A

periodically review and refine/ scrap outdated laws.

N/A

Article 44 of the constitution of India lists Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of state policy. BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a Uniform Civil Code, which protects the rights of all women, and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft a Uniform Civil Code, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonizing them with the modern times.

N/A

We will simultaneously reform the legal system to make it more accessible to the common man. We will:

  • undertake a comprehensive review of the legal system to simplify complex legislations – converge overlapping legislation, as well as remove contradictory and redundant laws.
  • establish an institutional mechanism to periodically review and give suggestions for refining our laws.
  • simplify legal procedure and language.
  • make legal information open and freely accessible.
  • run legal awareness programmes and introduce in school curriculum - making the common man aware of his rights and duties.

Access to Justice 7.
The Indian National Congress will continue and strengthen legal aid for the indigent. Additionally, we will also establish a cadre of public defenders who will assist indigent litigants from different social backgrounds.

Cow and its Progeny: In view of the contribution of cow and its progeny to agriculture, socio-economic and cultural life of our country, the Department of Animal Husbandry will be suitably strengthened and empowered for the protection and promotion of cow and its progeny.

Necessary legal framework will be created to protect and promote cow and its progeny.

A National Cattle Development board will be set up to implement a Programme for the improvement of indigenous livestock breeds.

N/A

Click to show 16 comments
at your own risk
(alt+c)
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.

Latest comments