In tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra of ‘minimum government maximum governance’, a PMO-appointed panel has recommended repeal of 1741 obsolete central laws that have outlived their utility.
The Committee has also identified 150 Central Acts on related subject matter which can be consolidated and enacted into 21 Central Acts to avoid multiplicity of laws. Besides, 55 of the central laws identified for repeal, including ‘The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867’ should be re-enacted, it said.
The panel recommended retention for the time being of 18 Central Acts that had been suggested for repeal by other committees/commissions. On many of these laws, the panel said the administrative ministry concerned could take the final decision in consultation with the law ministry.
As on October 15, 2014, there were 2781 Central Acts on the Statutes Book.
The committee comprising former secretary in the PMO R Ramanujam (Chairman) and former Legislative Department Secretary VK Bhasin (member) was set up in September 2014 “to further process the ...repealing the Central Acts... no longer needed and can be repealed... based on recommendation of various reports...”
The Law Commission recently submitted four reports recommending repeal of 288 archaic laws. These are in addition to the commission’s five reports on the issue that were never acted upon. PC Jain Commission too had recommended repeal of 1382 central laws in 1998 and by March 2002 315 of these laws were repealed.
The Ramanujam Committee has prepared a Model Draft Repealing Bill, 2014 and said ministries/departments concerned may further add other central acts which may be identified by them for repeal.
Of the total 1741 laws recommended for repeal, 777 were central acts; 624 were Central Appropriation Acts up to the year 2010; 257 were Central Appropriation Acts in respect of states and 83 related to state subjects identified for repeal by the state legislatures.
The committee noted that during 115 years before the commencement of the Constitution, 2911 central acts were enacted and thereafter during 66 years, 3,701 central acts came into existence.