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Legal profession celebrates Indian elections

Congress party wins powerful mandate
Congress party wins powerful mandate
Lawyers are united in praise over the outcome of the Indian Lok Sabha elections.

They hope that the stronger Congress-led government will be a boon to the legal profession by driving forward the process of economic liberalisation.

"I think it's absolutely fabulous that this has happened, I couldn't have expected a better result," enthused Luthra & Luthra managing partner Rajiv Luthra.

"Very positive election results," agreed Khaitan & Co partner Rabindra Jhunjhunwala. "It's good news for the country and our economy - we needed one of the nationalist parties in power."

AZB & Partners co-founding partner Zia Mody found that the election was a clear vote for stability.

"It will allow the government to continue with its economic policies all with a view to further liberalisation. With the economic reforms likely to be a key issue on its agenda, this will encourage further investment and hopefully should open up the debt market further," predicted Mody and added: "It should help the legal profession overall."

Lawyers overseas were also excited by the unexpected news of Congress' clear mandate to govern India.

"The election results are very good news," said Jonathan Morris, India group partner at UK firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP). "I am optimistic that the new government will continue with its liberalisation programme. This should help stimulate the economy and provide opportunities for UK and other international companies."

However, many expect that liberalisation of the legal industry could be a more protracted process.

Luthra said that much would depend on the allocation of the ministerial portfolios and who would get control of the law ministry and other important posts.

Jhunjhunwala was cautiously optimistic: "We should see [reforms in the legal profession] being discussed and our markets finally opening up. All eyes are set on Dr Manmohan Singh and his government to deliver now."

Morris, by contrast, was cautiously pessimistic. "In terms of opening up the legal sector," he said, "I do not necessarily believe that we will see rapid progress here, given the strong opposition of some of the key players within the Indian legal profession."

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