Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: “The statute book of India has indeed a bulging belly. The recommendations of the Judicial Impact Assessment Task Force headed by Justice Jagannadha Rao are timely and show the way for fulfilling a pressing need of the time,” says Law Commission member Tahir Mahmood.

The Task Force, in its report, said that before any law was enacted, its impact on courts and financial implications must be assessed. Wherever necessary the number of courts to deal with such legislation must be increased correspondingly.

In a statement, reacting to the Task Force recommendations, Mr. Mahmood said: “Some of the laws date back to 1836. A Central legislature was first established in India in 1833 and laws began rolling in three years. Nearly 200 laws had been enacted by the end of the century. Another 200 were added till the advent of Independence.”

The number of laws enacted by Parliament “since the Constitution came into force is much larger than those in force earlier. These are supplemented by a heap of State legislation. This enormous body of laws is bound to take its toll in the form of delayed justice.”

Make the right choice

He said, “It is high time the antiquated laws surviving in the statute book were repealed and those still required shortened and consolidated. The pace at which new laws are being enacted also needs to be arrested.

“Our choice indeed lies between an unduly bulging legal manual and speedy justice and we must opt for the latter.”