Background Note on The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2022
Article 245 of the Indian Constitution grants the Parliament the authority to enact laws and, at the same time, provides the legislative body with the power to revoke or abolish those laws.1 A Repealing and Amending Bill is a type of law that aims to remove outdated laws and make changes to specific parts of existing laws. This bill is designed to modernize the legal system, get rid of old rules, and adjust current regulations to meet the needs of society and changing times. The contents and terms of each Repealing and Amending Bill can differ based on the area and time period being considered.
- This bill aims to abolish 65 laws that are either no longer in effect or have become unnecessary due to the operation of other laws. The First Schedule of the bill lists 24 laws passed between 1885 and 2020 that the bill aims to repeal. The Second Schedule lists 41 Appropriation Acts passed between 2013 and 2017 that the bill intends to repeal. The Third Schedule identifies one act that the bill intends to modify.2
- In response to a parliamentary question, the then-Hon’ble Minister of Law and Justice highlighted that these antiquated laws imposed an unnecessary compliance burden on individuals. Thus, the government is also referring to this measure as an effort to reduce the cost of compliance, reform the legal system, and enhance administrative accessibility for the general public. Moreover, since May 2014, the government has abolished a total of 1,486 dated and duplicate Central Acts.3
Key Highlights of the Bill
- How to repeal a law, The Hindu/ https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/explained-how-to-repeal-alaw/article37574716.ece
- Batch of 65 obsolete laws to be repealed soon by Parlaiment, latestlaws.com/ Batch of 65 Obsolete Laws to be repealed soon by Parliament (latestlaws.com)
- National bill to repeal over 60 laws rectify error in one introduced in is, The Hindu/ https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bill-to-repeal-over-60-old-laws-rectify-error-in-one-introduced-inls/article66281326.ece
- The Bill aims to repeal several outdated Acts, including the Land Acquisition (Mines) Act of 1885 and the Sugarcane Act of 1934, which date back to pre-independence times. Other Acts to be repealed include the Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act of 1950, the Metal Corporation of India (Acquisition of Undertaking) Act of 1965, the Coal Mines (Conservation and Development) Act of 1974, the Metal Corporation (Nationalization and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1976, and the Andhra Scientific Company Limited
(Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act of 1982, among others.
- This bill includes the repeal of several appropriations dating from 2013 to 2015. This makes logical sense, as appropriations passed over a decade ago are no longer significant in today’s context. This Bill also aims to amend the Factoring Regulation Act of 2011 by replacing the phrase “that Central Government” with “that Government” in section 31A, sub-section (3) in an attempt to rectify an error in an Act introduced.
- Access to justice is a fundamental right in a democratic society. In India, there are efforts being made to address the major challenge of high legal costs and attorney fees, which are often unreasonably high for many individuals. This financial burden can make it difficult for people to obtain legal representation and can increase the risk of injustice. Furthermore, the Indian legal system is recognised for its lengthy procedures, leading to cases dragging on for years before a resolution is reached and justice is served.
- The repealing of laws and the pressure of legal matters on the judiciary can be seen as interconnected when looking at the legal system macroscopically. Repealing laws can have a direct impact on the workload of the judiciary. Certain repealments can result in a decrease in the number of cases related to those laws while it can also lead to the emergence of new cases challenging the constitutionality of the laws that were revoked.
- It is reasonable to say that it is too soon to determine the full effects of the bill, as it proposes to repeal and amend various provisions in central laws with a focus on quasidecriminalization. Additionally, the Minister of Commerce has expressed their opinion
that the Jan Vishwas Bill and the exercise of repealing outdated laws will improve the ease of doing business in the country.6
- According to experts, it is desirable to include a sunset clause for laws that might not serve societal goals after a certain time period. This recommendation suggests setting a specific date on when such laws will no longer be valid.
- The government has time and again advised states to do away with outdated laws. Some states have undertaken such an exercise however, it is crucial for the central government to carry out a comprehensive consultation process to tackle the governance-related issues arising from the existence of such obsolete laws in the first place. This procedure should not only precisely identify such laws but also establish the best approach to address them.
- Further, it is important to gain more understanding of how the proposed mass repealment and amendment in this bill will impact the ease of conducting business in the country.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are entirely those of the author(s). Swaniti makes every effort to use reliable and comprehensive information, but Swaniti does not represent that the contents of the report are accurate or complete. Swaniti is a non-profit, non-partisan group. This document has been prepared without regard to the objectives or opinions of those who may receive it.[NOTE: This analysis is prepared on the basis of information and materials available in media sources or the public domain only. The Bill is yet to be introduced in the Parliament, hence, the note will be updated as and when a text of the Bill is available]
A bill to decriminalise minor offences to promote ease of doing business, Outlook India/ Piyush Goyal Introduces A Bill To
Decriminalise Minor Offences To Promote Ease Of Doing Business (outlookindia.com)
 Lok Sabha Websit> Legislation> Bills, Digital Sansad/ Digital Sansad
 Huge cost of litigation has turned justice into a dream for the weaker sections in India, First Post/ Huge cost of litigation hasturned justice into a dream for the weaker sections in India-India News , Firstpost
 Insights/ Sansad TV: Bills and Acts- Repealing & Amending Bill, 2022 – INSIGHTSIAS (insightsonindia.com)
 Obsolete laws scrapped by Modi govt., India Times/ 1,159 obsolete laws scrapped by Modi govt; 1,301 junked in previous 64years | India News – Times of India (indiatimes.com)