Report No. 248
Laws recommended for Repeal
4.1 Of the 261 statutes identified in Appendix V for further study with a view to assess suitability for repeal, the following set of 72 statutes have been found by the Law Commission to be fit for repeal.
They have been recommended for repeal because they fall into one or more of the following categories - first, the subject matter of the law in question is outdated, and a law is no longer needed to govern that subject; second, the purpose of the law in question has been fulfilled and it is no longer needed and third, there is newer law or regulation governing the same subject matter.
4.2 One related question has been considered with respect to each statute studied - Which is the appropriate legislating body for repeal of these laws?
This question is particularly relevant for pre-independence laws passed by the Governor-General in Council, the subject matter of which now falls in the State list. The answer to this question has been determined with reference to Article 372(1) of the Constitution which says that pre-independence laws continue to remain in force unless amended or repealed by a competent legislature.
Competent legislature in the Constitutional scheme refers to the legislating body that has the power to make laws on a particular matter under Article 246 read with the Seventh Schedule. This has been explained in Kerala State Electricity Board v. The Indian Aluminium Co. Ltd. [AIR 1976 SC 1031], which stated:
An existing law continues to be valid even though the legislative power with respect to the subject-matter of the existing law might be in a different list under the Constitution from the list under which it would have fallen under the Government of India Act, 1935. But after the Constitution came into force an existing law could be amended or repealed only by the legislature which would be competent to enact that law if it were to be newly enacted.
4.3 Similarly, in Kanwar Lal v. IInd Additional Distt. Judge, Nainital, [AIR 1995 SC 2078], the Supreme Court while considering amendments to the Government Grants Act, 1895, (a pre-constitutional Central statute) held that the State Government was the competent legislature to amend or repeal this Act, since the subject matter of the Act fell into Entry 18 of List II.
4.4 Based on this reading of Article 372(1), it is clear that if the subject-matter of a pre-constitutional law falls into the State List, the State Government is the competent legislature to repeal that Act. As a result, where it is appropriate to refer a statute to the concerned State Government for repeal, the same has been indicated in the notes accompanying the statute recommended for repeal.
4.5 A list of 72 statutes, with recommendations and notes on each, is given below: