top of page

The Influence of National Politics on India's Judiciary International Investment Law

The first interactions of India’s courts with international law occurred in the context of the Princely States, a set of several hundred independent nations whose merger with a British colony formed the Union of India. The creation of the Indian Republic was an outcome of actions taken through instruments of international law. A brief background is necessary. India became a colony after the UK Parliament passed the Government of India Act in August 1858, bringing India under Britain’s direct control. Territories formerly in possession or under control of the East India Company were vested in the Crown, in whose name India was to be governed. These territories did not include much of what comprises India today. India comprised two distinct political units – British India and the Indian or Princely States. British India included the territory directly governed by the Crown through the Governor-General of India. The Princely States, however, were territories under the suzerainty of the Crown though governed by Indian Rulers. The first interactions of India's newly formed Supreme Court with international law concerned the legal effect of changes in sovereignty that had occurred in the preceding years. Principles laid down in many of these cases are based on widely accepted opinions. They can be regarded as ‘general principles of law recognised by civilised nations’ and, as such, may be applied as international law. As for dispute resolution, while the judiciary is professional and independent, delays are endemic – timelines of 10 years or more in obtaining a final judgment are not uncommon. Further, compared to jurisdictions such as England, Indian courts have much less experience in adjudicating complex commercial disputes.


bottom of page