Lok Sabha passes bill to repeal 35 dead-letter laws

Helping the government to weed out archaic and dead-letter laws, and the Lok Sabha approved a bill to repeal as many as 35 legislations through one single bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

A dead letter is a law that becomes inoperative after its initiation, even though the law will be still in effect.

''This is an initial step taken by the new government. We will see in a span of one or two years ... the statute book will be cleared. And there will be no confusion as far as disposal of cases are concerned,'' law minister Sadananda Gowda said.

He was replying to a debate on 'The Repealing and Amending Bill 2014', which was later passed by a voice vote.

''These laws at present are of no use and such dead laws create confusion if they continue in the statute books,'' he said.

The government initially proposed to repeal 36 laws but the Employment of Manual Scavenging and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 was withdrawn from the list following observations by the standing committee.

The committee observed that the 1993 Act should be retained as several states were yet to pass resolutions to implement the 2013 Act on the subject, the minister said.

Out of the 35 Acts proposed to be repealed, four were principal Acts and others were amendments to various Acts.

The Acts which are sought to be repealed include amendments to the Representation of the People Act, Marriage Act, Election Laws, Divorce Laws and Anand Marriage Act and the Evidence Act.

The remaining three principal acts which have been repealed are Foreign Jurisdiction Act, Sugar Undertaking (Taking Over of Management) Act and Indian Fisheries Act.

''The Bill is one of those periodical measures by which enactments which have ceased to be in force or have become obsolete or the retention whereof as separate Act is unnecessary are repealed or by which the formal defects detected in enactments are corrected,'' said the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill.

The decision is in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's agenda to do away with archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.

Between 1950 and 2001, over a hundred Acts have been repealed. At one time, 100 such Acts were repealed in one go.