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Report No. 249

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

Table of Contents




1. Introduction 1 - 2
2. Laws Recommended for Complete Repeal 3 - 43
3. Permanent Ordinances Recommended for Repeal 44 - 52
4. State Reorganisation Laws Recommended for Partial Repeal 53 - 60

Chapter 1


1.1 This Report forms the second instalment of the study undertaken by the Law Commission titled 'The Legal Enactments: Simplification and Streamlining'. It considers a further 113 laws and permanent ordinances, recommends 88 of these for wholesale repeal, and the remaining 25 for partial repeal.

1.2 In the first instalment of this study, i.e., Report No.248 titled "Obsolete Laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal (Interim Report)", 72 laws were identified as having become obsolete, and were recommended for immediate repeal.

Repeal was recommended if the law satisfied one of the following conditions: if later law clearly conflicted with an archaic one, if the purpose of the law had already been fulfilled, or if the subject matter of a statute was so archaic as to no longer require legislation. Of the 261 laws prima facie identified for repeal based on these parameters (listed in Appendix V of the 248th Report), a study of 72 laws was completed in the first interim report. This second interim report studies a further 113 laws that satisfy these parameters, and gives notes and recommendations on each.

1.3 Thus, Chapter 2 of this Report studies 77 laws recommended for complete repeal. Chapter 3 considers the legal position of 11 permanent ordinances promulgated during World War II, and makes individual recommendations regarding each. Chapter 4 deals with 25 State reorganisation laws, which cannot be repealed in their entirety, but may be suitable for partial repeal.

1.4 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in Chapter 4 of the 248th Report, pre-Constitutional laws, even where they have been passed by the Centre, can only be repealed by the Centre if the subject matter of the law now falls within List I or III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.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.

1.5 An additional point to be noted in the process of statutory simplification and streamlining is the need for easy access, by laypersons, to an updated set of Central laws in force. Accordingly, the Law Commission recommends that repealed laws, or laws that clearly pertain only to a single State be removed from the list of Central laws available on the Ministry's website.

Further, a revised list of Central laws should be presented both chronologically, and in accordance with the subject-categories recommended in the 248th Report of the Law Commission (Appendix 1 of the 248th Report). This will ensure that members of the public who wish to know the entirety of laws governing a certain subject area will find this information readily - something that is not possible today.

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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