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Cabinet approves bill to scrap 58 redundant laws

New Delhi: In its effort to weed out archaic and dead statutes, the Union Cabinet Wednesday approved a bill to scrap 58 laws which have lost their relevance.

The NDA government in its two terms has sent to the chopping block 1824 old laws which had become redundant.

After the Repealing and Amendment Bill, 2019 gets parliamentary nod, 137 laws, which according to the government, have lost their relevance will be scrapped in the next lot.

The list of the 58 laws which will be repealed was not immediately available, but sources in the government said most are Acts which were enacted to amend principal or main laws.

“Once the principal Act was amended, these amendment laws have lost relevance. Their presence in the statute books as independent laws is unnecessary and they are only clogging the system,” said a government functionary.

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The practice of scraping obsolete laws is called “scavenging” or “cleansing” of the statute books.

Some of the old acts that have been repealed are the Hackney Carriage Act 1879 which was legislated for the regulation and control of hackney-carriages, Dramatic Performance Act 1876 when theatre was being used a medium of protest against the British rule.

Another such old act which was repealed by the Lok Sabha was The Ganges Tolls Act, 1867 which provided for collecting toll “not exceeding 12 annas” on certain boats and steamers plying on the Ganga to improve navigation of the river between Allahabad (UP) and Dinapore (Bihar).

After the Modi government came to power for the first time in 2014, a two-member panel was set up to look into the repealing of archaic laws and the panel also consulted the Centre and the state government before recommending the legislations to be repealed.

Between 1950 and 2001 over a hundred Acts have been repealed. At one time, 100 such Acts were repealed in one go.

In September 2014, the Law Commission had said that while studying the issue, it found that a large number of Appropriation Acts passed during the past several years in reality have lost meaning but continue to be part of the statute books.

“It is common knowledge that Appropriate Acts are intended to operate for a limited period of time… Those Appropriation Acts that are older than certain date, say 10 years, may be repealed. This itself would result in the repeal of more than 600 laws,” the report had said.

It said Australia has a system where Appropriation Acts are repealed automatically as there is a ‘sunset clause’ attached to them.

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