Over 65 years after India’s independence, British parliament has scrapped 38 acts related to the Indian Railways that remained on its statute books until now — the first of them dated 1849 and the latest of 1942.
The railway laws of British India were part of the Statute Law (Repeals) Bill, which was introduced in the House of Lords in October 2012. It passed through various stages in parliament and has now received the Royal Assent, which means it is now an Act of parliament.
The Indian Railways acts were among several old pieces of legislation that were considered by the Law Commission “as being spent, obsolete, unnecessary or otherwise not now of practical utility”.
The 38 acts relate to the construction and maintenance of the railways network in India during British rule and reflect the challenge of constructing and maintaining one of the largest railway networks in the world across vast distances in British India.
The Indian Railway acts include those enacted during the rule of the East India Company and later when the governance of India was taken over by the British Crown after India’s first war of independence in 1857, and the railway network came under state control. Some of the 38 acts now scrapped are: the Great Indian
Peninsula Railway Company Act, 1849; Assam Railways and Trading Company’s Act, 1897; Oude Railway Act, 1858 etc.