Thursday, 23 July 2015

Repealing Obsolete Laws | Law Commission, LESS, Ramanujam Committee

Why in news?
An editorial by NITI Aayog Member - Bibek Debroy

Reports on Obsolete laws:

  • Law Commission reports

    • In September 2014, the 248th report of the Law Commission - gave us a database of 1,086 Union laws. 
      • This database excludes the 253 laws that were recommended for repeal earlier, but still continue to be on the statute books. 
      • It excludes the 34 statutes that have been repealed — though some government ministries and departments don’t know that these have been removed from the law books. 
      • The database also excludes the appropriation acts. 
      • The 248th report recommended the repeal of 72 statutes and identified another 261 for further scrutiny. 
    • In October 2014, the 249th report
      • identified 77 more statutes for repeal. 
      • There were separate recommendations on partial repeal and on the 11 World War II ordinances
    • In October 2014, there was also the 250th report of the Law Commission. 
      • This identified 73 more statutes for repeal.
    • November 2014, there was the 251st report - 30 more statutes
    • TOTAL number of laws identified for repeal now went up to 288
Legal Enactments Simplification Project (LESS) - Ref The Hindu

  • R. Ramanujam Committee:

    • Set up by the prime minister’s office in September 2014. 
    • It submitted a mammoth four-volume report, more comprehensive than the Law Commission exercise. 
    • Thus, we know that since 1834, 6,612 Central statutes have been enacted
    • At some point or the other, 3,831 have been repealed. 
    • Identified 1,741 Central acts for repeal
      • 777 need to be repealed by the Union government; 
      • 83 by state legislatures, since these are Central acts on state subjects; 
      • 624 are Central appropriation acts; and 
      • 257 are Central appropriation acts on state subjects, which, therefore, have to be repealed by state legislatures. 
What has been done so far?
    • 125 statutes that have already been repealed — 
      • 90 by the Repealing and Amending (Second) Act, 2015, and 
      • 35 by the Repealing and Amending Act, 2015 — 
    • We haven’t even done 10% yet! - WHY?
      • There are cases where a statute needs to be retained, but has sections that should be scrapped. 
      • There are instances where a consolidation and harmonisation exercise is required. 
      • There are also instances where repeal has to be matched with new legislation to plug the gaps. These take more time than outright repeal.


Some Redundant laws:
Source: The Hindu


Law Commission of India:
  • Ad hoc
  • Advisory
  • Not binding
  • Not constitutional
  • Head: conventionally retd SC judge but can a judge of HC also - at present A P Shah
  • States can also make law commissions
  • Memebrs legal experts
  • Every 3 years
  • History
    • 1st Lord Macualy - 1834
      • IPC, CrPC
    • 1955 - 1st
      • M C Setalvad
    • 2012
      • Venkatrama Reddy
  • Law commission and Constitution
    • Inspired by FR, DPSP, 39A - which says that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice
  • Constitution mein Article 372 ke neeche pre-independence law chal rahe hain - demand hai ki aise law ko badalate rehna chaahiye kyunki India badal raha hai so Central Law Commission permanently bitha do
  • Composition
    • 1 chairperson
    • 4 members - 1 is law secretary
  • Consult law ministry
  • Works in research oriented manner

  • SC has many a times followed recommendation of law commission

[Source: The Hindu, Indian Express]

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