House should give new shape to British-era laws: Speaker
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday called upon the House to replace British-era laws with new legislations, opening up the possibility of a slew of new bills and amendments in the coming months.
The Speaker’s observation in the House came after the Trinamool Congress’s chief whip Kalyan Banerjee suggested, during the introduction of a bill for repealing and amending nearly 58 legislations, that British-era laws should be replaced. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, the Centre has repealed about 1,458 laws that are 100 or 150 years old. While introducing the bill, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad added that the Centre has “also conveyed to the state governments about 225 old Acts belong to the realm of the state governments. They are also taking steps.”
When Prasad started narrating how 100-year-old laws have created problems for people, the Speaker asked him to describe such laws as “British-era acts” to underline how these colonial laws have lost their importance in independent India. Prasad pointed out that India still has laws formulated in 1875 —the year Sardar Patel was born. Banerjee added that the Indian Penal Code, too, was enacted long back (1860) and added, “What is the need for pre-British laws? There are many new changes. Therefore, you should bring new laws.”
Birla remarked: “I agree with you. The House should strive to give a new shape to the British-era laws.”
The Speaker’s initiative to work overtime, give opportunities to first-time MPs to speak, and ensure that the House functions smoothly, has already earned praise from leaders cutting across the political spectrum. The House has passed as many as 20 bills in 30 working days.
Birla assured the House that in the next session, members will get even more time to raise their issues. To which, Trinamool’s Lok Sabha floor leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said in a lighter vein, “The way the House is functioning, there will be no bill left to be brought in the next session.”
Congress floor leader Adhir Chowdhury, too, praised the Speaker for listening to the Opposition parties. “You have played an important role and we can express our opinion in front of you. We sincerely hope that you will become the best Speaker among the Commonwealth countries.”
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