Law Commission recomends repeal of 73 more obsolete statutes

Identifying obsolete Acts, the Law Commission on Monday recommended repeal of 73 more statutes, including the one which prescribed punishment for those who dissuaded people from taking part in wars in which the British Empire was engaged, taking the number of such laws to 258.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 03, 2014, 17:10 PM IST

New Delhi: Identifying obsolete Acts, the Law Commission on Monday recommended repeal of 73 more statutes, including the one which prescribed punishment for those who dissuaded people from taking part in wars in which the British Empire was engaged, taking the number of such laws to 258.

In its third interim report submitted to the Law Ministry, the panel recommended repeal of 73 more Acts. In its three reports to the government, it has recommended repeal of 258 laws which are clogging the statute books as they have lost their relevance.

One of the Acts recommended for repeal is the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1938 enacted just before the beginning of World War II.

The law provided for punishment of certain acts prejudicial to the recruitment of persons to serve in the armed forces of the Union. It was enacted to punish persons who made public speeches to dissuade people from enlisting in the defence forces and from taking part in any war in which the British Empire was engaged.

"This Act was meant to serve the needs of the British Empire and is now redundant. There is no evidence of recent use of this Act. Hence, the Central Government should repeal this Act," 'Report 250' of the Commission recommended.

Another Act recommended for repeal is the Hindu Inheritance (Removal of Disabilities) Act, 1928. It provided that no person governed by Hindu law would be excluded from any right or share in joint family property by reason only of any disease, deformity, or physical or mental defect. However, the Act excluded a person who had been from "birth a lunatic or an idiot".

"The purpose of the Act has now been subsumed by Section 28 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 which provides that no person shall be disqualified from succeeding to any property on the ground of any disease, defect or deformity...The 1928 Act is now redundant," the report said.

In its first interim report submitted in September, the

Commission had recommended repeal of 72 old Acts. In its second report, the panel had suggested that another 113 laws to be sent to the chopping board, including 11 World War II era ordinances, as part of its ongoing exercise to help the government weed out unwanted statutes.

While the Law Ministry has mandated the Law Commission to recommend laws that can be repealed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in August constituted a separate committee to identify "obsolete" laws which hamper governance by creating "avoidable confusion".

This committee will examine all Acts recommended for repeal by the Committee on Review of Administrative Laws which was appointed by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998.

Out of the 1382 Acts recommended for repeal by that committee, only 415 have been repealed so far.

The NDA government had introduced a bill in Lok Sabha during the Budget Session to repeal 32 acts.

The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2014 seeks to remove certain Amendment Acts and Principal Acts from the statute books as they have outlived their utility.

This is the first time since 2001 that such an exercise is being undertaken by the Law Ministry.

The Amendment Acts which are sought to be repealed through the Bill include amendments to the Representation of the People Act, Marriage Act, Divorce Law and Anand Marriage Act and Evidence Act.