NEW DELHI: The government is likely to introduce the Repealing and Amending Act Bill, 2014 on Monday to scrap at least 36 antiquated and redundant laws.
These include Foreign Jurisdiction Act, Indian Fisheries Act and Sugar Undertaking Act, sources said. At least 32 of them include the various amended laws that have no relevance anymore as they are already part of the principal bill.
The Foreign Jurisdiction act was enacted in 1947 and provided for the government to acquire jurisdiction in relation to areas outside India, which has no relevance anymore.
“This is part of an ongoing exercise being undertaken by the law ministry as part of the poll promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do away with archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance,” a law ministry source said.
Soon after taking over, Modi had told a meeting of secretaries that “there may be rules and processes which have become outdated, and instead of serving the process of governance, they are leading to avoidable confusion”. He had called upon the departments to “identify and do away with such archaic rules and procedures”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sources said law secretary PK Malhotra at the instance of the minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, has written to all ministries to identify and recommend repeal of all such antiquated laws. Meanwhile, a comprehensive list is also being drawn by the Law Commission for repeal of all such redundant laws. That exercise is likely to take a couple of months, sources said.
The Sugar Undertaking (taking over of the management) act, 1978 provided for the temporary takeover, in public interest, of the management of certain sugar undertakings in certain circumstances. The Indian Fisheries Act was enacted in 1897 and has since lost relevance.
The Parliament of India.
The various amended acts include the repeal of amendment passed in the Representation of the People Act on disqualification of lawmakers; the Marriage Laws amendment bill, the Indian Divorce amendment bill, etc. “An amendment bill is moved to add or remove certain provisions in the principal act. Once the amendment bill is passed by Parliament and signed into Act by the President, the Amendment Act becomes redundant as its provisions are included in the Principal Act. Such Acts which have outlived their use clog the statute books,” said a top law ministry official.
Between 1950 and 2001 over 100 Acts have been repealed. At one time, 100 such Acts were repealed.
The proposed repeal of 36 outdated laws is a good beginning. But it should be seen as a first, small step in the right direction.
As this newspaper pointed out in its ManifesTOI before the Lok Sabha elections, there are thousands of laws which would be considered obsolete by any reasonable person in a modern society.
The Jain Commission, which reviewed administrative laws, and Law Commissions over the years have made the same point. All such laws must go, the sooner the better.