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Report No. 60

3.56. Section 3(29)-"Indian law".-

Regarding section 3(29), which defines "Indian Law", there is a suggestion1 to be considered. Sub-section (1) of section 4A of the General Clauses Act, 1897, makes applicable to "Indian laws" certain definitions contained in the General Clauses Act. The term "Indian law" is defined in clause (29) of section 3 of the Act as follows-

"'Indian law' shall mean any Act, Ordinance, Regulation, Rule, order, byelaw or other instrument which before the commencement of the Constitution had the force of law in any province of India or part thereof, or thereafter has the force of law in any Part A State or Part C State or part thereof, but does not include any Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom or Order in Council, rule or other instrument made under such Act."

It will be apparent from the above definition (of the expression "Indian law") that it will apply only to laws in force in any area which immediately before 1st November was included in a Part A State or Part C State, but not to laws in force in any area which, immediately before that date, was comprised, in a Part B State. Now, in almost all Madras Acts, expressions such as "Central Government", "State Government", "Official Gazette", "High Court" etc. are used without specifically defining them in the respective Madras Acts, and these expressions will, by virtue of sub-section (1) of section 4A, have the meanings assigned to them in the General Clauses Act.

The question arises whether the definitions of various expressions enumerated in section 4A(1) will apply to a Madras Act extended to the Kanyakumari district and the Shencottah taluk of the Tirunelveli district (which district and taluk were immediately before the 1st November, 1956, comprised in a Part B State, namely, Travancore-Cochin.) As the position in this respect is not very clear, the suggestion is that the position should be clarified.

1. Suggestion of the Government of the (erstwhile) State of Madras.

3.57. We have given thought to the suggestion,1 but we think that the better course, at this stage, would be for each State Legislature concerned to deal with the matter and to make a suitable provision for the interpretation of laws of a (former) Part A State extended to the area of a (former) Part B State. In so far as these laws relate to matters within the State List, an amendment to be made in the General Clauses Act cannot apply to those laws.

As regards matters in the Concurrent List, not many State laws would have been extended to those areas, because, on most matters included in the Concurrent List (e.g. registration, succession, procedure and the like), the position is that under the Part B States Laws Act or similar other laws, the relevant Central Acts on various subjects now extend to those areas, and the General Clauses Act, 1897 applies to those Central Acts for interpreting those Central Acts. Even as regards other matters in the Concurrent List, where the relevant Central Acts are not extended, no serious difficulty should arise because the analogy of the General Clauses Act can be invoked.

1. Para. 3.56, supra.

General Clauses Act, 1897 Back

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