The 100 Laws Repeal Project

Repeal 100 Laws Project

100 Laws Worthy of Repeal: A report by Centre for Civil Society, Macro/Finance Group at NIPFP and Vidhi Legal Centre, September 2014.

The 100 Laws Project
Download PDF ~ 1.17 MB
Download Press release

For rule of law to operate, laws must be precise, principles-based, well-written, well-coded and should stand the test of time. The Indian approach has often run counter to the fundamentals of good law-making. Our enthusiasm for legislation has left us with an estimated 3000 central statues, several obsolete, redundant and repetitive. The result is an environment fraught with substantial legal uncertainty, an overburdened judicial system, and pernicious rent seeking. The most important aspect of the Indian development project today is writing sound laws, and then constructing state capacity to enforce those laws. This requires large-scale statutory legal reform. In some areas, there is a need for ground-up rewriting of entire frameworks; in other areas, patient and thorough housekeeping can yield substantial impact.

The last concerted effort to clean up the statute books was in 2001. Since then, there has been no systematic weeding of dated and principally flawed laws. To help the current administration in this goal, we have identified 100 laws worthy of wholesale repeal. These laws should be repealed on account of three reasons—they are redundant having outlived their purpose, have been superseded/subsumed by more current laws, or pose a material impediment to growth, development, governance and freedom.

button Archaic British Era Laws

There are over 300 colonial-era enactments in force in India. Many of these are redundant, not implemented, and sometimes even misused. The need for reviewing these old laws has been reiterated time and again. We recommend the repeal of 20 such colonial laws that were enacted to govern situations existing at the time, to cater to British administrative needs, or in relation to territorial areas or official positions of that period. The subject matter of these Acts is now governed by laws enacted post-Independence that are more in tune with contemporary realities.

button Obsolete Partition and Post-Independence Reorganisation

button Unnecessary Levies and Taxes

button Redundant Nationalisation

button Outmoded Labour Relations

button Restrictive Business and Economic Regulations

button Ineffective Governance and Administration

button Obstructive Civil and Personal Interference

About The Project

Centre for Civil Society’s iJustice, NIPFP Macro/Finance Group, and Vidhi Legal Centre, with the help of lawyers, legislative experts and economists have identified 100 Laws worthy of repeal to help the administration live up to a key election message. The group recommends for complete repeal 100 laws that are redundant, or materially impede the lives of citizens, entrepreneurs and the government. The Project does not aim to reinvent the wheel. It simply revisits the work and recommendations of several experts before, and provides a clean compendium of low-hanging fruit that can easily be executed with minimal discomfort or encumbrances.

The team has developed a one page ‘case’ for each recommendation: The case includes the name of the legislation, Reasons for Repeal, and issues that may need to be taken into account during repeal. Data, testimony, expert recommendations, and previous legal opinion have been referenced and cited. Where possible, Government of India budget and census data and last recorded case filings under each law have been used to reinforce the recommendations. Laws presented in this compendium range from high impact recommendations such as repeal of laws that constrain the business environment, to low impact such as repeal of the laws governing territorial organisation of provinces in the British era. The former set would help put India back on the growth track, and the latter would help clear the statute books of clutter.