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Report No. 60

4.3B. Several alternatives as to commencement. -

The Indian provision in section 4 follows the English law. But it should be pointed out that the date of assent is not the only alternative in regard to commencement of an Act. Sir Cocil Car1 has expressed the view that "in the rush of modern law-making, many laws tumble out of the oven half-baked;"-not only in the sense that the country may not be ready for them, but also in the sense that administrative preparations and the making of delegated legislation may be necessary to bring statute into force. It may be noted that such special cases are dealt with by postponing the commencement of the Act to a date to be fixed later.

As already stated, there are several alternatives as to commencement.

(a) In the first place, a specific future or past date may be mentioned in the Act itself as the date on which the Act shall come into force or shall be deemed to have come into force. In the former case (future date), the Act is prospective in its operation; in the latter case (past date), it is retrospective in its operation. Thus, the recent Code of Criminal Procedure2 received the assent of the President on the 25th January, 1974, but section 1(3) of the Act specifically lays down that it shall come into force on the 1st day of April, 1974.

(b) In the second place, no specific date may be mentioned in the Act, the date may be left to the Central Government to be appointed3 by notification in the Official Gazette. This device has been called by Sir Cocil T. Carr4 as the "appointed day" clause device. This device is resorted to when postponement of the commencement of an Act is necessitated by reason of appointments to be made under the Act, or rules to be framed there under and other preliminary arrangements to be carried out for the proper and effective functioning of the Act, or by reason of any change being made by the Act in status or rights the effect of which it is desirable to delay, or by reason of new conditions being imposed on a section of the public which makes it desirable, that they should have time to adjust themselves to the new law. In this connection, Sir Cocil Carr remarks5-"When Parliament makes big constitutional or administrative changes, it is convenient to take time over the various stages rather than to bring them into force immediately on the passing of the Act or upon any hard and fast date. Such a device is particularly useful and appropriate to the introduction of-

(a) constitutional changes, for example, those ,made by the Acts which respectively created the Dominion of Canada in 1867, the Commonwealth of Australia in 1900 the Union of South Africa in 1909 and those made by the Government of India Act 1919 and the Government of Ireland Act of 1920; and

(b) administrative changes, such as, those occasioned in England by the local Government Acts of 1888 and 1894, the Education Acts of 1902, 1903 and 1918, the Patents and Designs Act of 1919, the establishment of a Public "Trustee (see 6 Ed. VII, Ch. 55) or the inter-departmental transfer of powers under the 1919 Acts which created the Ministry of Health, the Scottish Board of Health and the Ministry of Transport."

(c) Then, in the third place, the "appointed day" device can be quite frequently elaborated by providing that different days may be appointed (a) for different purposes and for different provisions of the Act, or (b) for different areas, or (c) for different persons or classes of persons. For example, part of the Government of India Act, 1919 came into force on January 1st, 1920; other parts came into force on successive dates during April, July and December of that year, while the remainder was finally brought into force by the beginning of 1921, on one date for Madras and the Central Provinces, on another date for Bihar and Orissa, on a third date for Bombay and the rest of India. Provision for a similar gradual enforcement of the Government of India Act, 1935 was made in that Act.6 In this fashion, in the majority of the post-independence Central Acts, the "appointed day" device has been adopted. A mere look at the Statute Book will show this."

1. Carr Concerning English Administrative Law, (1941), pp. 42, 43.

2. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1974 (2 of 1974).

3. Carr Delegated Legislation.

4. Para. 4.2, supra.

5. Carr Delegated Legislation.

6. Section 320, Government of India Act, 1935.

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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