New Delhi: The Prime Minister's Office has asked the Law Ministry to come up with a mechanism, including a "legal framework", for ensuring that ministries do not delay on the framing of rules after an Act has has come into force.
The move comes against the backdrop of parliamentary committees repeatedly slamming various ministries for delays in the notification of rules.
The Law Ministry has swung into action in this regard by asking the various ministries to come out with details of Acts which are still awaiting framing of rules.
The PMO wants that rules should be framed within six months of an Act coming into force. In a communication to the Law Ministry, the PMO asked it to devise a mechanism, including a "legal framework", to ensure that rules are framed within the stipulated time.
Failure to frame rules makes its virtually impossible for a ministry to enforce an Act.
The Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation (2011-12), in its 21st report presented on December 16, 2011, had highlighted at least two examples of such delays.
"For example, in some cases, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare took 21 months for finally publishing rules and the Ministry of Agriculture took 22 months for the same action," the report had said.
Rules and by-laws are defined as subordinate legislation which is framed by the government. A copy of the rules is tabled in Parliament if that is provided for in the Act.
According to the website of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the Cabinet Secretariat had, way back in August of 1971, set a time limit for the framing of rules.
"Statutory rules, regulations and by-laws will be framed within a period of six months from the date on which the relevant statute came into force. Cases in which... That is not possible, will be brought to the notice of the secretary and the minister at the earliest possible stage," the website quotes the Cabinet Secretariat Office memorandum.
The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry states that in case the departments are not able to frame the rules within the prescribed period of six months, they should seek an extension from the Committee on Subordinate Legislation stating the reasons for such extension, which can be of no more than a period of three months at a time.