Panel to study impact of verdicts on society
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice plans a study to assess the impact of legislations and court judgements on the society, two members of the panel said.
The study is being carried out months after Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu in October called for the need for a Legislative Impact Assessment (LIA), saying it will help in “realising the stated objectives of various laws.” Naidu had said a detailed assessment is required at both pre-legislation and post-legislation stages.
At a meeting on Monday last, the Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Bhupender Yadav-led 28 member panel unanimously agreed to start work on the study.
“Over the years, the government has introduced special laws and new enactments that require setting up of special courts, with the idea to expedite cases. POCSO [Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act] provides for having special courts to hear cases of sexual assaults against minors so that the matters can be disposed of quickly. But is the law really achieving this objective?” said a panel member, who did not wish to be named.
In POCSO cases, no new judges have been appointed and judges from the existing pool are designated to head the special courts. “If a judge is made to give up his or her work to hear cases exclusively under a special legislation, then the other cases too suffer. We cannot keep creating work with new legislations,” the member added.
Another member added that laws are being framed without assessing the burden they can or might create for the judiciary, which is already overworked. “For effective legislation, adequate infrastructure is required. The study will ascertain whether the legislations have achieved the desired results and also whether there should be a sunset period for each law,” the second member said on condition of anonymity.
The sunset clause relates to a provision of a law that it will be terminated after a fixed time unless extended.
Legal experts say LIA is critical in ensuring the law-making process is scientific. “Badly drafted laws based on ill-thought-out policies are often the root causes for multiple litigations, thereby adding to the judiciary’s burden. This can be addressed at the outset by conducting Judicial Impact Assessment as part of LIA framework so that all possible ramifications on the judiciary and the law enforcement agencies are anticipated and provided for,” said Deepika Kinhal, senior resident fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.