Govt prepares bill to repeal 36 archaic laws

Govt prepares bill to repeal 36 archaic laws

Moving ahead with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's agenda of scrapping 'archaic' laws, the government has prepared a bill to repeal 36 redundant Acts which is expected to be introduced in Parliament next week.

This is the first time since 2001 that such an exercise is being undertaken by the Law Ministry.

Out of 36 "antequated" Acts, 32 are Amendment Acts which were passed to change the existing laws. Four other are Acts which have become obsolete.

The decision is in tune with Modi's agenda to do away with archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.

Soon after taking over, Modi had told a meeting of Secretaries that "there may be rules and processes which have become outdated, and instead of serving the process of governance, they are leading to avoidable confusion".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 stressed upon the need to "identify and do away with such archaic rules and procedures".

After this bill, the government will move another measure to repeal more of such Acts in the next session of Parliament.

"An Amendment bill is moved to 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," explained a senior government functionary.

Between 1950 and 2001 over a hundred Acts have  been repealed. At one time 100 such Acts were repealed.

The Amendment Acts which are sought to be repealed include amendments to the Representation of the People Act and some provisions of the IPC.

Two of the stand alone Acts which will also be repealed throuh the bill are Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1947 and Sugar Undertaking Act.

The Law Ministry has written to all Union ministries and departments to identify redundant laws which can be repealed.

It intends to give the list to the Law Commission which is already working on identifying antequated laws.

The Law Commission has time and again recommended repealing Acts which have outlived their life in the statute books and are clogging them. In May, 2002, the law panel had recommended that more than 800 old laws be removed from the statute books.

The recommendations cover laws on poor relief, lotteries, turnpikes and Indian Railways. The oldest legislation dates back to 1322 (Statutes of the Exchequer), and the most recent is part of a Taxation Act from 2010.

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