India: Repeal 100 Laws Project – A Call to Pakistani Civil Society

100 Laws Worthy of Repeal: A report by Centre for Civil Society, Macro/Finance Group at NIPFP and Vidhi Legal Centre, September 2014.

The 100 Laws Project
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For rule of law to operate, laws must be precise, principles-based, well-written, well-coded and should stand the test of time. The Indian approach has often run counter to the fundamentals of good law-making. Our enthusiasm for legislation has left us with an estimated 3000 central statues, several obsolete, redundant and repetitive. The result is an environment fraught with substantial legal uncertainty, an overburdened judicial system, and pernicious rent seeking. The most important aspect of the Indian development project today is writing sound laws, and then constructing state capacity to enforce those laws. This requires large-scale statutory legal reform. In some areas, there is a need for ground-up rewriting of entire frameworks; in other areas, patient and thorough housekeeping can yield substantial impact.

The last concerted effort to clean up the statute books was in 2001. Since then, there has been no systematic weeding of dated and principally flawed laws. To help the current administration in this goal, we have identified 100 laws worthy of wholesale repeal. These laws should be repealed on account of three reasons—they are redundant having outlived their purpose, have been superseded/subsumed by more current laws, or pose a material impediment to growth, development, governance and freedom.

button Archaic British Era Laws

There are over 300 colonial-era enactments in force in India. Many of these are redundant, not implemented, and sometimes even misused. The need for reviewing these old laws has been reiterated time and again. We recommend the repeal of 20 such colonial laws that were enacted to govern situations existing at the time, to cater to British administrative needs, or in relation to territorial areas or official positions of that period. The subject matter of these Acts is now governed by laws enacted post-Independence that are more in tune with contemporary realities.


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