Report No. 148
1.6. Need for formal repeal.-
Statutes, unlike human beings, do not die a natural death, with, the possible exception of statute whose life is pre-determined by the legislature at the time of their enactment. A statute, unless it is expressly enacted for a temporary period, survives unfil it is killed by repeal. To this extent, statues enjoy immortality. This consequence flows from the well-established proposition that long desuetude of a statute does not amount to its repeal.1
Even where an earlier enactment relating to a particular subject-matter is followed by a latter enactment on the subject-matter covering almost every inch of the area covered by the earlier enactment, the earlier enactment may still be held to retain its vitality because courts lean against implied repeal. Thus neither the obsolescence of an old enactment for the fact that its content is substantially covered by a latter enactment, has the effect of robbing the old enactment of its vitality in law. That effect can be achieved only by a formal repealing Act.
1. Perrin v. U.S., (1914) 58 L Ed 69