The Rule of Law forms the very foundation of a modern democratic society, defining the functionality of its public administration as well as the behavior of the private agents that constitute it. The effective codification of such a rule of law requires as its prerequisites, to be precise in enshrining the intrinsic attributes of the democracy it serves and ensuring that this is done in the simplest manner possible.
As one of the largest democracies in the world with an ever-rising population, India's enthusiasm for legislation has had, as a by- product, several statutes that with time have become obsolete, redundant or repetitive. In addition to this, there is the matter of inconsistent language and dissemination- making it difficult for an ordinary citizen to access and comprehend the plethora of legal information with ease.
This increased transaction cost coupled with glaring redundancy further breeds fertile grounds for corruption, discouraging engagement of individuals and firms with the society/ economy at large. Distorting the competitive dynamics of the economy, it leaves only those producers in the market who have surplus capital to bear costs of compliance. This, in effect, weakens the social fabric by incentivizing behavior such as corruption and cheating.
Faced with such unsettling possibilities, it is imperative that a strong movement is reckoned with the sole objective of reforming the legal structure of the country through the framing of sound laws and construction of State capacity to enable accountable enforcement.
To accomplish such a feat would require a ground-up hygiene check of existing laws, and the subsequent repealing of outdated laws, wherever necessary. This cleansing would yield a substantial impact in the functioning of the country- both economic and social.
About Repeal Law Day Initiative
Centre of Civil Society (CCS) initiated the 'Repeal of 100 Laws' Project in 2014 with the aim to identify laws that could be repealed on account of three reasons—i) redundancy, ii) obsolescence in the face of new laws iii) hindrance to development, governance and freedom.
The success of 'Repeal of 100 Laws' Project, conducted in partnership with National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, was reflected in the successful repeal of 23 Central laws (of a total 100 suggestions) through the Repealing and Amending Bill, 2014. Further, the project was acknowledged in a Report on 'Obsolete Laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal' released by the Law Commission of India in September 2014. For the next phase of the project, CCS reached out to the State Governments of Delhi and Maharashtra, with the Maharashtra Chief Minister agreeing to repeal 19 of 25 laws.
APPEAL FOR REPEAL LAW DAY
Centre for Civil Society, in an sustained effort to institutionalize the repealing of laws as a constitutional practice for the Republic of India, aims to bring together like-minded organizations, scholars, academicians and lawyers on 25 November to reiterate the need for a Repeal Law Day. Its objectives are:
To mark this day, we will launch the Repeal Law Compendium followed by a panel discussion on 'Exploring Alternatives: Institutionalization of Repeal Law Day'.
The 2019 edition of the Repeal Law Day includes the research team from Symbiosis Law School- Noida vetting redundant laws from North East States and pitting the laws against the leximetric methodology, developed by CCS, a rarity in the legal research field.
Our legal partner for the Repeal Law Day initiative Kaden Boriss Partners, have been instrumental in ensuring quality of compendiums prepared for the aforementioned governments, as well as through the provision of legal inputs which strengthened the recommendations.