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Sansad TV: Sarthak Samvad- Repeal Obsolete and Redundant Laws

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Laws to be repealed:

  • Repealing a law is one of the ways to nullify a law. A law is reversed when Parliament thinks there is no longer a need for the law to exist.
  • Legislation can also have a “sunset” clause, a particular date after which they cease to exist.

Procedure to repeal a law in India:

  • The law can be repealed by the government in two ways;
    • First to bring a Bill to repeal the laws, and
    • Second is to promulgate an ordinance that will have to be consequently replaced with a Bill within six months.
  • According to the former Union Law Secretary P.K. Malhotra “For repeal, the power of Parliament is the same as enacting a law under the Constitution.”
  • Article 245 of the Indian Constitutionempowers the Parliament to enact as well as to repeal any law.
  • A law can be repealed either in its entirety, in part, or even just to the extentthat it is in contravention of other laws
  • That is, the Parliament has the power to make laws and also to repeal them through the Repealing and Amendment Act. In 1950, the first Act was passed and 72 Acts were repealed.
  • In 2019, Repealing and Amendment provision was invoked when Union Government scrapped 58 obsolete lawsand made minor amendments to the Income Tax Act, 1961 and also the Indian Institutes of Management Act, 2017.
  • The present government already scrapped or repealed around 1,428 Acts during its first term.
  • Like any other Bill, the Repealing and Amendment Bill will pass in the same way as any other Bill. It will have to be passed by both Houses of Parliament and the President’s assent will be required to make it a law.

Reasons for repeal

  • Indian laws have always been influenced by its customs and practices. India embraces its ancient traditions, however, it would be right to say that old is not always gold. With the changing society, customs and everyday practices also change.
  • As society embraces the new changes, it abandons old and inefficient practices and accustoms itself to efficient practices.
  • As every society keeps on changing, the laws regulating the society must keep changing as well. Creating efficient legislation is of paramount importance for an efficient legal system.
  • In the Indian society, the rule of law governs the society. So certain laws are obsolete with passing of time. Many laws being repealed were created by British parliament. Many acts don’t have relevance in the present time and they become hindrance to normal course of action.
  • Passage of time or societal changes or value system. These laws require continuous updation with passage of time. For eg. Criminalization of gay sex was imposed by British in India. Now, Britain itself has done away with it and de-criminalized it. It is the time to change in India too as now SC has ordered for right to privacy and this is something that is a personal choice.
  • The laws have been replaced by other laws and the old ones have not yet been repealed.
  • There are judgements delivered by SC and the judgement overlaps the existing law. Thus the law is no more needed.
  • There can be laws which are not in tune with international treaties and conventions signed by India.
  • The cost of regulating some laws or having the laws is more than the benefit of having that law.

Benefits of archaic laws repealed

  • There is a savings clause in the bill. It says that in all the existing cases, it will not have any bearing. For future cases, since the law ceases to exist, no future litigations can be started on basis of these laws.
  • The entire process of law making and the way in which laws are administered, it has huge bearing on governance because unnecessarily, such huge number of laws are on statute books, somehow it will be invoked through litigation and governance will be hampered.
  • This will also have a bearing on economy and business side. It is not about general laws. It is about the focus on business laws. There are many laws which can be consolidated and re-enacted as one law. This will help administration of business more efficiently.

Conclusion:

  • The Ministry of Law and Justice informed Lok Sabha that so far 1486 obsolete and redundant laws have been repealed by the Government of India since 2014
  • This is one among a tangle of bizarre, archaic laws, which survived for years like a relic in a museum but with no relevance in modern India.
  • Many of these rules put up obstacles to running smooth administration and ease to do business.
  • Unmaking existing laws is as equally an arduous task as law-making.
  • The role of State Assemblies is also significant and thus a permanent mechanism is needed in this regard.
  • It is better to have a permanent commission in place to review the existing body of law and identify those that require repeal.