Tuesday, July 17, 2018
 News Details
State Law Commission Need Of The Hour - but Insulate it from politics

By B L Saraf

Much water has flown down the legislative drain in the Sub – Continent ever since Lord Macaulay took over as the first Chairman of Law Commission in India , in 1834, pursuant to its creation by the British , vide Charter Act of 1833 . Lord Macaulay’s name has gone in the annals of the Sub- Continental judiciary after he and his team in the Commission codified penal laws and devised Criminal Procedure Code to regulate the criminal trials . Indian Penal Code and Cr Pc are among various laws which owe codification to him.

After independence , GOI established first Law Commission in 1955 with M C Setalvad , then Attorney General , as its Chairman . Since then it has been a continuous process and Law Commissions , established time to time , have done a great job in streamlining the judicial process in the country by getting rid of expired laws and helping devise new laws and procedures for dispensing speedy and cost effective justice to the people . While new legislations were recommended at the same time laws which had become archaic and redundant were weeded out .

It is, therefore , in fitness of things that State government has ordered creation of the law Commission . Explaining aims and objects of the move , government has said that it will help weed out archaic and redundant laws , besides help State to be in know of the laws which , in future , changing times may render obsolete , and keep it alive to the necessity of new laws demanded by the emerging situations and developing circumstances .

It has been a long pending wish of the knowledgeable persons in the legal domain that the state should have a Law Commission . They , on account of their vast experience in the field , had felt need to revise so many existing laws , incorporate changes and amendments in many of them so that they are made useful . Many laws made in the past have suffered from bad drafting : their enactment has lacked due diligence and proper research needed for those kind of legislations . With the result , instead of being helpful to the society these badly drafted laws have become a nuisance and defeated the very purpose . We trust that whenever the Commission assumes charge it will pay attention to this problem also .

There is an onerous duty cast on those who are going to man the Commission . They must remember that In J & K we suffer from a unique ailment called ‘ Political- mania ‘ . For some the virus remains dormant so long it is the demand of public office they occupy . Once free of it, the virus gets activated and they show signs of ‘ wisdom ‘ and ‘ activism ‘ never exhibited when in harness . So it has to be ensured that the Commission doesn’t get mired in petty politics or allow itself to be used a political tool -on one side by those who claim to be “ Autonomists “ and , on other , by those who say they are imbued with the sense of “ hyper nationalism “.
Some may clamor for revision or repeal of laws not in conformity with the special status of the state . The Commission will be best advised to keep in view the fate of the committee which was set up by Sheikh Abdullah, in 1977 , to revise some laws which , according to him , impinged on the state’s autonomic character . That committee went nowhere . The Commission may not tread that path.

We understand that the Central law Commission has neither Constitutional nor Statutory backing . It is an ad –hoc body with limited duration . But it has got inspiration from various provisions of the Constitution . We assume our Commission will be modeled as such . For the clarity of the purpose , state government should frame specific terms of reference and delineate the job , leaving nothing to the vagueness . The recommendations of the Commission may be recommendatory in nature but the government must give due regard to them and grant some sanctity to its effort . Law Commission should not be a mere ornamental institution and treated as an adjunct . Government must ensure it is provided with requisite infrastructure , staff and enough funds to be able to discharge the mandate.

Having a State Law Commission is, undoubtedly, a well come development.

(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge. Feedback- [email protected] )

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