Repealing and Amending Act, 2019

Author: Vaidik Sharma, B.A LL.B, 3rd Year, New Law College, Bharti Vidyapeeth Deemed to be University This article has been written by the author while pursuing the internship programme with us. Introduction The Repealing and Amending Act came into force on 8 August 2019. It was introduced in Lok Sabha by Ravi Shankar Prasad who was the Minister of Law and Justice at that time. It repealed 58 obsolete laws and made small amendments The Indian Institutes of Management Act, 2017 and The Income Tax Act, 1961. The Indian Parliament has repealed 1428 such Acts between 2014 and 2019. [1]The bill seeks to repeal certain enactments and to amend certain other enactments. It provides for repealing fifty-eight old Laws including the Beedi Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1976, and the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2001 which have no relevance today.
Besides it also seeks to make minor amendments to the Income Tax Act, 1961 and the India Institutes of Management Act, 2017. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stressed on the need for periodic review of old and obsolete laws so that they can be scrapped. [2]Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the government believes that “the country should be troubled minimum by laws”. “For ease of living, ease of doing business and ease of governance, superfluous, uncalled for, irrelevant or those laws which have lost their utility need to go,” Prasad said. He also said that for the country and states, “periodic review of obsolete and irrelevant laws must become a part of good governance”. Political History The government under the regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi already made repealing obsolete and unwanted laws as a part of their main objectives during the election campaign for the general elections. Narendra Modi also said at a summit that India as a developing nation suffered from a lot of laws which hindered the business in the country. The Center has identified about 1,877 such laws from the report of the Ramanujan Committee. Legislative History This act was aimed at repealing obsolete laws which included acts as old as 1860 and a few other amendment acts which already became a part of the main act but the amending act remains on the statute book. In the year 2014 Ramanujan Committee was set up its main objective was to find out laws which are obsolete in nature and can be repealed. The committee in its report stated that there were about 380 laws which came into force between 1834 and 1949 it also identified 1741 obsolete laws. Taking the recommendation into consideration the parliament brought six legislation which repealed such statutes. 1. The Repealing and Amending Act, 2015 [Act no 17 of 2015] repealed 35 obsolete laws 2. The Repealing and Amending (Second) Act, 2015 [Act no 19 of 2015] repealed 90 unwanted laws 3. The Repealing and amending Act, 2016 [Act no 23 of 2016] repealed 295 obsolete laws 4. The Repealing and Amending Act, 2017 [Act no 2 of 2018] repealed 104 obsolete laws 5. The Repealing and Amending (Second) Act, 2017 [Act no 4 of 2018] repealed 131 unwanted laws Article 4 of the Act Article 4 contains a precautionary provision it gives that any statute repealed by this act should not affect any other enactment and it shall also not affect the validity of prevailing laws or make any other law invalid it shall also not provide any release from debt, liability, penalty, obligation already bestowed upon anyone in relation to the statutes repealed. These repealed enactments should not affect any rule of law or any principle or jurisdiction which has already been established or existing restriction, custom established by any of the repealing acts it cannot also revive any custom jurisdiction or office which have already been removed by this act. Acts which were repealed A total of 58 old laws were repealed including [3]1. The Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control (Nasirabad Cantonment Repeal) Act, 1968. [Act no 49 of 1968] 2. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2001. [Act no 39 of 2001] 3. The Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Act, 2002. [Act no 16 of 2002] 4. The Public Accountants’ Defaults Act, 1850. [Act no XII of 1850] 5. The Beedi Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1976. [Act no 62 of 1976] Acts which were amended ● The Income Tax Act, 1961. [Act no 43 of 1961] ● The Indian Institutes of Management Act, 2017. [Act no 33 of 2017] Doctrine of Desuetude [4]India doesn’t have a system of desuetude. Therefore, statutes are open-ended. They continue to remain on statute books, unless they are specifically identified for repeal. There are a lot of obsolete laws that would not have been in the statute book if India had the doctrine of Desuetude. In [5]Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd v. Union of India and Ors. The Supreme Court identified the following essentials of the Doctrine of desuetude: “… (i) that the statute or legislation has not been in operation for very considerable period and (ii) the contrary practice has been followed over a period of time must be clearly satisfied. Conclusion [6]There are recommendations, judicial pronouncements as well as pending bills in place. However, redundant laws continue to be legally enforceable. These laws, despite their lack of relevance, continue to have a permanent place in the statute book. It is therefore necessary for the cooperation between the judiciary and the legislature, the two very important pillars of democracy. [7] Further, there is a need for greater awareness to be created amongst people about the existence and continued application of such redundant laws that have lost their purpose and significance. The tussle between the different machineries of governance regarding the implementation and eradication of such laws should be resolved in the greater interest of the public. The judiciary should act suo moto, whenever any matter pertaining to such laws comes before it, rather than shifting the responsibility to the legislature. The legislature should accordingly co-operate when such disposal has been initiated by the judiciary. Everything changes with time whether and law should also grow with it. There were a lot of laws in force that had no relevance in the present scenario in India because they were outdated and not in use. The Repealing and Amending Act was a very good legislation by the Indian parliament in my point of view. The parliament should bring about this type of legislation from time to time. There are still 137 bills left to be scrapped at the state level and the finance bill of the past year before 1980 should be scrapped as they have no relevance. Reference [1] Parliament passes Repealing and Amending Bill, 2019, News Service Division (May 12, 2020, 6:37 PM), http://www.newsonair.nic.in/News?title=Parliament-passes-Repealing-and-Amending-Bill%2C-2019&id=369521 [2]Parliament passes Bill to repeal 58 ‘redundant’ laws, Indian Express (May 12, 6:54 PM), https://indianexpress.com/article/india/parliament-passes-bill-to-repeal-58-redundant-laws-5873985/

[3] E-Gazette of India, The Amending and Repealing Act 2019 (May 8, 2020, 8:31 PM) http://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2019/210358.pdf

[4] Bibek Debroy and Aparajita Gupta, Old is Not Always Gold – A Case Study on Repealing Statutes, Niti Aayog (May 12, 2020, 7:26 PM), https://niti.gov.in/sites/default/files/2019-07/SOL2.pdf

[5] (2012) 11 SCC 1

[6] Yash Tripathi and Rupali Singh, Doctrine of Desuetude –Addressing the Constitutional Minefield, 5 Christ University L.J. 47, 35-48, 2016 [7] Ibid Disclaimer: Views and opinions as expressed in the Research Articles are solely of the author and any member of the core team of the website shall not be liable for the same.

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