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Report No. 60

12.15. Importance stressed by the Supreme Court.-

In Harla v. State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court had occasion to draw attention to the basic need for due publicity of laws.1 Bose J. observed:-

"We are of opinion that it would be against the principles of natural justice to permit the subjects of a State to be punished or penalised by laws of which they have no knowledge and of which they could not even with the exercise of reasonable diligence have acquired any knowledge. Natural justice requires that before a law can become operative, it must be promulgated or published. It must be broadcast, in some recognizable way so that all men may know what it is; or, at the very least, there must be some special rule or regulation or customary channel by of through which such knowledge can be acquired with the exercise of due and reasonable diligence. The thought that a decision reached in the secret recesses of a chamber to which the public have no access and to which even their accredited representatives have no access and of which they can normally know nothing, can nevertheless affect their lives, liberty and property by the mere passing of a Resolution without anything more is abhorrent to civilised man."

Bose J. also made a passing reference to the Code Napoleon of France, the first article of which provides that law are executory by virtue of the promulgation thereof and that they shall come into effect from the moment at which their promulgation can become known.

1. Harla v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1951 SC 467.

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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