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Report No. 250

Obsolete Laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal" (Third Interim Report)

Chapter 1


This Report forms the third instalment of the study undertaken by the Law Commission titled 'The Legal Enactments: Simplification and Streamlining'. For this report, a further 158 laws have been studied and 73 of these have been recommended for complete repeal in this Report.

1.2 In the first instalment of this study, titled "Obsolete Laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal" - An Interim Report No. 248, 72 laws were identified as having become obsolete, and were recommended for immediate repeal. In the second instalment of this study, which formed Report No. 249, 88 laws were recommended for wholesale repeal while 25 were recommended for partial repeal.

1.3 In the 248th Report, in addition, 261 laws were prima facie identified for repeal (listed in Appendix V of the 248th Report). With this third report, the Law Commission has studied all 261 laws, and also carried out a study of the laws recommended for repeal by the Report of the Commission on Review of Administrative Laws, 1998 (the PC Jain Commission Report) as well as earlier reports of the Law Commission.

A study of 253 laws which were recommended for repeal by the PC Jain Commission Report, and the 96th Report on the Repeal on Certain Obsolete Laws (1984), 148th Report on the Repeal of Certain Pre-1947 Acts (1993) and the 159th Report on Repeal and Amendment of Laws (1998) of the Law Commission, but which have not yet been repealed was also conducted (these laws have been listed in Appendix II of the 248th Report). Thus, the third Interim Report marks the culmination of a study of the 261 laws prima facie identified for repeal as well as the 253 laws recommended for repeal by other Commission Reports.

1.4 Thus, Chapter 2 of this Report studies 73 laws recommended for complete repeal, and gives notes and recommendations on each. It must be kept in mind that while recommending the repeal of these laws, the legislature competent to repeal the law must also be established in accordance with Article 372(1) of the Constitution. As explained in Chapter 4 of the 248th Report, pre-Constitutional laws, even where they have been passed by the Centre, can only be repealed by the Centre if the subject matter of the law now falls within List I or III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.

Where a law falls within the domain of List II, it should be referred to the relevant State Governments for repeal. Accordingly, the competent legislature has been indicated in each of the laws being studied for repeal. The Acts at serial numbers 73 and 74 have already been repealed. Therefore, the Central Government should remove these laws from its list of central Acts in force.

1.5 Chapter 3 contains a note on Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, Act 22 of 1946 and similar welfare fund Acts.

1.6 The Commission acknowledges the efforts put in by the Sub-Committee comprising Justice S N Kapoor, Member, Law Commission, Prof. Mool Chand Sharma, Member, Law Commission, Prof. Yogesh Tyagi, Member (Part Time), Law Commission, Mr. Arghya Sengupta and Ms. Srijoni Sen, Advocates from Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, and also that of two young researchers, Ms. Ritwika Sharma and Mr. Sameer Rohatgi in finalizing this Report.

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