“Law Commission of India”

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    4th Mar, 2020

Context

The Union Cabinet has approved the constitution of the 22nd Law Commission of India, for a period of three years.

About:

  • Law Commission of India is a non-statutory body constituted by the Government from time to time.
  • Core functions:
    • Its core function is to reform laws, comprises of legal experts assigned by the government to take good care of the laws, and create maximum peace, security and justice in the society.
    • It also acts as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice.
  • Does the Constitution provide for it?
  • The Constitution of India does not say anything about the formation of law commission or what it actually is.
  • However, under Article 39 Aof the Indian Constitution, it is the state’s duty to promote justice by providing equal opportunities, free legal aid through suitable schemes.
  • The State has to ensure that justice is not denied to any on the basis of any disability.  

Historical background:

  • The first Law Commission was appointed in India in 1834 under the UK Charter Act of 1833 for the purpose of codifying the laws of British India.
  • The commission consisted of Lord T.B. Macually, as chairman and 4 members namely, C.H. Cameron, J.M. MacLeod, G.W. Anderson and F. Millet.
  • The first 3 members represented Madras, Bombay and Calcutta respectively.
  • After Independence, the government established the first Law Commission of independent India in 1955 with MC Setalvad as its chairman.
  • Since India’s independence, i.e., after 1947 there have been twenty-one law commissions. 
  • The 21st Law Commission of India (last) under Justice (Retd.) BS Chauhan was established in 2015 and its tenure was upto 31st August 2018.

 The 22nd Commission:

  • With the cabinet approval, the law ministry will now notify the new panel, which will have a term of three years.
  • Composition:The panel will have
    • a full-time chairperson
    • four full-time members (including a member secretary)
    • law and legislative secretaries in the law ministry as ex-officio members.
  • Usually, a retired Supreme Court judge or chief justice of a high court head the Commission.

Functions of the Commission:

The Law Commission of India shall, inter-alia: -

  • identify laws which are no longer needed or relevant and can be immediately repealed
  • examine the existing laws in the light of Directive Principles of State Policy and suggest ways of improvement and reform and also suggest such legislation as might be necessary to implement the Directive Principles and to attain the objectives set out in the Preamble of the Constitution
  • consider and convey to the Government its views on any subject relating to law and judicial administration that may be specifically referred to it by the Government through the Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Legal Affairs)
  • consider the requests for providing research to any foreign countries as may be referred to it by the Government through the Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Legal Affairs)
  • take all such measures as may be necessary to harness law and the legal process in the service of the poor
  • revise the Central Acts of general importance so as to simplify them and remove anomalies, ambiguities and inequities

Before finalizing its recommendations, the Commission will consult the nodal Ministry/ Department (s) and such other stakeholders as the Commission may deem necessary for the purpose.

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