At the Joint Session of Parliament, the President said that "Close to 1800 obsolete legislations are at various stages of repeal". Earlier, at the Economic Times Global Business Summit, the PM said, "Our country suffers from an excess of old and unnecessary laws which obstruct people and businesses. We began the exercise of identifying unnecessary laws and repealing them. 1,877 Central laws have been identified for repeal. Out of these, 125 have already been repealed. Bills for repealing another 758 have been passed by the Lok Sabha and are awaiting the approval of the Upper House."
Old statutes aren't always at the level of the Union government. There are several old statutes also at the level of the States. For instance, Rajasthan has repealed more than 60 old statutes recently.
At the Union government level, the Law Commission of India prepared four reports in 2014 (248th, 249th, 250th, 251st), identifying old statutes that could be repealed. Subsequently, a Committee headed by R. Ramanujam was formed to identify Central Acts which are not relevant or no longer needed or require repeal/re-enactment. As per the Ramanujam Committee, 2781 Central Acts were in existence as on 15 October 2014. Out of these, it recommended the repeal of 1741 Central Acts. Of these 1741 Acts, 340 were Central Acts on State subjects that had to be repealed by the respective state legislatures.
An analysis of the Acts recommended to be repealed by the Parliament revealed that 624 were Appropriation Acts; 130 related to taxation, excise, grants, tariffs or Finance Acts; 60 laws were related to infrastructure, transport or energy; 58 laws dealt with acquisition of undertakings/ acquisition and transfer of undertakings, acquisition of shares, nationalization or takeover of management; 54 were Repealing and Amending Acts; 44 laws dealt with banking, debt, deposits or securities; 41 laws were on land, revenue, tenancy, agriculture, agricultural produce or property; 31 laws were security (both internal and external) related; 29 laws dealt with contracts, torts, companies or insurance; 29 laws pertained to labour, workers, labour disputes or industrial disputes; 24 laws dealt with the legislature; another 24 were social legislations which also talked about removal of caste disabilities and Untouchability, human rights; 24 laws were for administration or development of areas; 23 laws were on suits, courts, civil procedure, consumer protection or related to the judiciary; a set of 23 laws were related to the medical profession, pharmaceuticals, drugs or health; 21 laws dealt with some academic institutions; 20 laws were on extension or revocation (of extension) of laws; 18 laws were cess related; 17 statutes dealt with criminal law or offences; 15 laws dealt with government employment or other executive related issues; 12 laws related to press, media, communications and publishing; 11 were environment and wildlife related; 10 were on cultural and historical monuments and institutions; 9 laws dealt with restoration and rehabilitation of people and juveniles; 8 laws were on food and beverages; another 8 laws were on essential commodities; 7 laws were on marriage or dissolution of marriage; 5 laws were IPR related; 4 laws talked of industries, trade and commerce; 4 dealt with professional conduct; 4 laws were on citizenship, emigration or expulsion from India; 2 were toll related; 2 were on records; 2 dealt with charitable and religious institutions or personal law and 1 law was on international relations.
Among the Central Acts on State subjects, there were 257 Appropriation Acts; 36 laws on land, revenue, tenancy, agriculture, agricultural produce or property (estate); 11 laws related to administration or development of areas; 8 laws on banking, debt, deposit, securities, encumbrances or bonds; 6 security (both internal and external) related laws; 5 laws on extension or revocation (of extension) of laws; 2 laws on taxation, excise, grants, tariffs or Finance Acts; another 2 laws on contracts, torts, companies or insurance; 2 laws related to criminal law or offences; 2 laws dealt with government employment or other executive related issues; 2 laws on environment and wildlife; 2 laws on industries, trade and commerce; 1 Repealing and Amending Act; 1 law on labour, workers, labour disputes or industrial disputes; 1 law related to suits, courts, civil procedure, consumer protection or related to judiciary; 1 on infrastructure, transport or energy and 1 on restoration, rehabilitation of people and juveniles.
In light of these recommendations, two repealing laws, namely the Repealing and Amending Act, 2015 and the Repealing and Amending (Second) Act, 2015 were enacted by Parliament. While the first statute repealed 35 unwanted laws, the second one repealed 90 obsolete laws. Further the Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015 has been passed by the Lok Sabha. This Bill seeks to repeal 295 more laws. Additionally, the Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, 2015, which seeks to repeal 758 laws, has been passed by the Lok Sabha.
Of the large number of obsolete laws, a major chunk has already been repealed or is in the Parliament, pending approval for repeal. Once these two Bills are also passed by the Parliament, a total of 1178 unnecessary laws would have been done away with.
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