There is no denying the economic slowdown even if the government refuses to use the 'S' word. Several reasons have been cited but here's a new one. Top Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve has laid the blame at the august doors of the Supreme Court.
In a conversation with fellow lawyer Indira Jaising published in The Leaflet, the ex-Solicitor General traced the origins of the slowdown to the cancellation of 122 2G licences by the apex court seven years ago.
"I squarely blame the Supreme Court... See when a foreigner invested it was your rule which said he must have an Indian partner. The foreigner did not know how the Indian partner got a license. Foreigners invested billions of dollars, and with one stroke of the pen, the Supreme Court knocked all of them out. That’s when the decline of the economy began," he said.
The Supreme Court judgement came after the Comptroller and Auditor General report saying the 2G scam had cost the exchequer a whopping Rs 1.76 lakh crore.
"The way they (the Supreme Court) have been completely inconsistent in dealing with commercial cases, causes grave concern in the minds of investors," he added.
Salve also brought up the Supreme Court's decision in 2014 to strike down all but four of the 218 coal block allocations from 1993 to 2011.
"You cancelled coal mines by one stroke of the pen, without examining the merits of every case. Much genuine foreign investment in the coal industry went flat. Then what happened? Indonesian coal and other world coal prices softened up. It became cheaper to import. Correct? A few million people are without jobs in India. Indian coal mines are lying closed, and we are importing coal. That is putting pressure on the economy," he said.
Salve further called the 2018 Supreme Court judgement cancelling all iron ore mining leases in Goa that had been renewed for a second time a 'howler'.
"The Government of India sent seven of their senior secretaries to consult me on how to deal with that Supreme Court judgement, and one of them said that this judgement will cost India 1 percent plus of GDP, and that has happened," he said.