New Delhi: As the Narendra Modi government moves ahead to weed out archaic laws, a peeved Law Ministry has shot off a letter to all Union ministries pointing out that "several" of them have failed to help the Law Commission compile a list of obsolete statutes.
The Law Ministry has asked secretaries of various central ministries and departments to appoint a nodal officer each to "actively interact" with the Law Commission to expedite the process of weeding out obsolete laws and rules which are clogging the statute books.
"As you may be aware, the government is committed to simplifying the laws and reducing the number of laws in the country...The Chairman, Law Commission has informed that the Commission had issued letters to secretaries of various ministries/departments requesting them to prepare an exhaustive list of all the laws/Acts...He has further stated that several ministries have not responded till date in spite of several reminders," Law Secretary PK Malhotra said in a recent letter.
The Law Commission had written to various ministries in May, 2012 to come out with a list of laws they think should be repealed.
While the Law Ministry had mandated the Law Commission to recommend laws that can be repealed, Prime Minister Modi had last month constituted a separate committee to identify "obsolete" laws which he believes hamper governance by creating "avoidable confusion".
The newly-constituted Committee will examine all Acts recommended to be repealed by the Committee on Review of Administrative Laws which had been appointed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998.
Modi has expressed concern that out of the 1382 Acts recommended for repeal by that Committee, only 415 have been repealed so far.
The NDA government has already introduced a bill in Lok Sabha during the Budget session to repeal 36 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The Amendment Acts which are sought to be repealed through the Bill include amendments to the Representation of the People Act, Marriage Act, Election Laws, Divorce Laws and Anand Marriage Act and the Evidence Act.
Two of the stand alone Acts which will also be repealed through the bill are Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1947, and Sugar Undertaking (Taking Over of Management) Act.