Report No. 159
Repeal and Amendment of Laws: Part I
This report focuses on the need for the repeal of certain Central Acts which have become obsolete in view of enactment of subsequent legislation, or laws which have become anomalous or out-dated in view of changed conditions, which, therefore, need to be repealed. The Law Commission has taken up the subject in pursuance of the terms of reference of the Law Commission by which it was constituted. The relevant terms of reference are extracted below-
"The terms of reference of the Law Commission are as under:-
I. Review/Repeal of obsolete laws:
(a) To identify laws which are no longer needed or relevant and can be immediately repealed;
(b) To identify laws which are in harmony with the existing climate of economic liberalisation which need no change;
(c) To identify laws which require changes or amendments and to make suggestions for their amendment;
(d) To consider in a wider perspective the suggestions for revision/ amendment given by Expert Groups in various Ministries/ Departments with a view to co-ordinating and harmonising them;
(f) To suggest suitable measures for quick redressal of citizens grievances, in the field of law."
Besides one of the terms of reference of the Commission is:-
"VI. To recommend to the Government measure for bringing the statute book up-to-date by repealing obsolete laws and enactments or parts thereof which have outlived their utility."
It may be emphasised at the cost of repetition that the para I(d) of the aforequoted terms of reference of the present Law Commission of India, as set out in the Order of the Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Legal Affairs dated 16-9-97, inter alia expects the Commission-
"(d) To consider in a wider perspective the suggestions for revision/ amendment given by Expert Groups in various Ministries/Departments with a view to co-ordinating and harmonising them."
1.2. As a sequel to the aforesaid terms and references, the Law Commission addressed letters dated 10-10-97, 23-2-98 and 5-3-98 (Annexure I, II & III respectively) to various ministries to send us the views of the expert groups/ departmental committees constituted in the respective departments set up for the review of the enactments administered by the respective Ministries/ Departments. The Commission has received quite a few proposals/responses from various Ministries/Departments. While some of them have sent specific proposals, some others have stated that either they do not administer any Act or that the Acts administered by them do not require any amendment. Some have stated that their exercise is still to be completed. The Commission has considered all such responses/proposals.
In view of the large number of Ministries/Departments concerned and the hundreds of Acts being administered by them, the Commission was faced with the question how to go about these several proposals. Waiting for all the proposals and making a comprehensive single report would involve substantial and uncalled-for delay. Accordingly, the Commission has decided that it would send more than one report on the issue of 'Repeal and Amendment of Laws': This is the first such report.