Law Ministry picks 52 Acts for review; taps other ministries for views on them – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/law-ministry-picks-52-acts-for-review-taps-other-ministries-for-views-on-them/articleshow/83530150.cmsSynopsis

The move is in line with the government’s thinking to clean up the statute book. There are many redundant and old laws or provisions that have over the years lost relevance an continue to remain. Besides, many offences invite criminal prosecution clogging up courts when monetary penalties would suffice.

The law ministry has identified 52 laws for a review, including the Code of Civil Procedures, Indian Succession Act, Hindu Marriage Act, Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937 and the Indian Contract Act.

It has reached out to all ministries and departments, seeking their views on the relevance of these Acts and converting criminal liabilities under them to civil offences.

The move is in line with the government’s thinking to clean up the statute book. There are many redundant and old laws or provisions that have over the years lost relevance an continue to remain. Besides, many offences invite criminal prosecution clogging up courts when monetary penalties would suffice.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had identified this clean up as one of the key focus areas, which was also part of the Bharatiya Janata Party‘s election promise. Modi had said if the party came to power, for every law passed, his government would scrap 10 obsolete or archaic laws.

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An official told ET that the government would try to push amendments in line with responses of the ministries in the upcoming session of Parliament.

“These Acts are under review as to their purpose and relevance in the present-day context,” the law ministry said in a recent communication.

It was necessary to obtain the views or comments of the ministries and departments to ensure these Acts still have relevance to be part of the statute book and also to what extent and manner. “It is also necessary to provide comments or views as to converting any criminal liability for violation of the provisions of these acts to civil liability,” said the letter, reviewed by ET.

The 52 acts identified by the ministry also include Powers of Attorney Act 1882, Official Trustees Act, Indian Succession Act, Commercial Documents Evidence Act, 1938, the Special Marriage Act, 1954, Arbitration and Conciliation Act, the Limitation Act and the Specific Relief Act among others. The government has already removed from the statute over 1,200 archaic Acts that had lost relevance and decriminalised many others.

Many offences under the Companies Act were decriminalised and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech announced that more laws would be taken up for such decriminalisation going forward.

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