Winter session to see as many as 987 outdated laws discarded

In keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's professed desire to do away with archaic laws, the union government is in action mode to repeal as many as 987 old laws – an exercise in which it should not face much difficulty, given its clear majority in the Lok Sabha.

The law ministry will bring a new bill in the winter session of Parliament to repeal 287 obsolete laws and junk another 700 or so Appropriation Acts that it feels have lost relevance.

 An Appropriation Act is passed by Parliament during a budget session to allow the government to withdraw money from the exchequer for the financial year; and needs to be re-passed every year. But all Appropriation Acts, including those passed decades ago, are still a part of statute.

 ''We plan to bring a bill to repeal 287 obsolete laws,'' law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters on Monday. He added they were consulting the finance ministry on the law commission's recommendation to repeal 700 Appropriation Acts.

The ministry is examining the British system of junking Appropriation Acts every few years.

Many of the laws listed for repealing date from the British Raj

On Sunday, Modi told a huge gathering of mostly Indian-Americans at Madison Square Garden in New York, ''Earlier Indian governments spoke of having made this law and that law, but I have started ending laws which are of no use. So many laws ... if I end one law a day, I will be the happiest.''

Among the laws to be repealed are some a land Act that exists since 1819, and a Foreign Recruiting Act passed in 1874. This particularly pernicious act enabled the Raj to prevent the recruitment of Indians by a foreign state.

An outdated environmental law, the Elephants' Preservation Act, of 1879, is also to be repealed, as it imposes a paltry fine of Rs500 for killing an elephant. It will be subsumed under the more stringent Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.