India To Scrap 100 Outdated Laws

InSerbia News
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, 7 October 2014

India will soon repeal more than 100 laws that make no sense in a modern, market-oriented economy. After receiving the government’s instructions in this regard, the Centre for Civil Society, the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and the Vidhi Legal Centre have jointly prepared a report, named ‘100 Laws Repeal Project’, identifying such rules and regulations.

According to the report, the government should scrap around 25 colonial and independence related laws, 17 laws that constrain economic freedom and restrict personal liberty, and 19 laws which hamper effective governance.

The report further recommends the Narendra Modi administration to scrap 20 laws, which were passed by the Parliament during National Emergency in 1975-77, saying that these laws allow the government to acquire private enterprises. The report says that ‘India Law Reports Act 1975’ should be abolished first as the law mandates that the Indian courts are not bound to hear the report of any case law other than ones published in a law report authorised by the state.

According to experts, this law is prone to be abused and ignores other sources, such as apex cases. It means that a lower court could choose to ignore a higher court judgment, if not reported in the official report.

Another outdated colonial-era law is the ‘Registration of Foreigners Act 1939’. Dating back to WWII, the law requires every foreigner, staying more than 180 days in India, to report his/her movement to the government. The law, enacted by the British rulers mainly to regulate the movement of Indian revolutionaries, is being used as a tool to harass foreign tourists.

The report also recommends the government to scrap the ‘Wealth Tax Act 1957’ on the basis of which the government can impose a tax in respect of every individual, Hindu Undivided Family and company at rate of 1% of the amount for wealth exceeding INR 3,000,000.

President of Centre for Civil Society Parth J Shah said: “Repealing these 100 laws should not become one-off exercise. The Australian government has set aside Autumn Repeal Day every year and they promise the people to cut red-tape by USD 1 billion per year. The laws, regulations and executive orders they cut are also listed on for transparency and accountability. In honour of the Constitution of India, may be January 26 could be the Annual Repeal Day for India.”

Shah also said that the Indian Law Ministry has identified a number of outdated British statutes and advised the government to abolish 36 such laws. The Law Commission, too, has identified 72 such laws. According to the Commission, laws, such as the ‘Exchange of Prisoners Act, 1948’, have become irrelevant because those were only for prisoners sent to custody on or before August 1, 1948.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that his government would scrap those outdated rules and processes which did not serve the process of governance. He had also ordered concerned departments to “identify and do away with such archaic rules and procedures”.

Read the complete report on InSerbia News.