Published On: February 20, 2022 at 12:00 IST
When the constitution came into being in 1950, it made India a republic. Inspired by various world rule books, the Indian legal system aims to better our society.
For the same reason, our laws have become rigid and flexible. In other words, although it is difficult to change them, it does not mean they cannot change. For example, the Supreme Court declared Indian Penal Code Section 377 (Criminalizing same-sex relationships) unconstitutional. Another example of the existing law getting changed like hours in a clock is Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code.
The courts understood the changing times and the West’s ability to decriminalize adultery. The third example, which is the controversial Triple Talaq, is now unconstitutional. It creates more disadvantages and problems for the women in the Muslim communities. Unfortunately, the detractors believe it is like an invasion of their personal religious lives.
We have the courts to reject the laws that are now obsolete in 2022’s standard. Times change, people change. And if the law does not go with the times, it could eventually become an atomic bomb that could shackle the pillars of the democratic legal system.
That is why it became necessary for the government to set up a body that aims to bring reforms to the existing laws. The same body is known as the Law Commission of India.
Understanding the Law Commission of India
Those incharge of the Law Commission of India serve as the advisory body of the Ministry of Law and Justice. The Government of India needed a body that is an executive (not constitutional or statutory). Most of the ladies and gentlemen of the Law Commission of India are legal experts.
Our Indian Rule Book (Constitution) wanted the colonial laws to continue post-independence unless amended or repealed under Article 372.
Functions of Law Commission of India
The Law Commission of India follows the orders of the Central Government by reviewing the existing laws. They also take the difficult job of studying and researching laws the justice system to make the system:
- Decimate the delay of the justice system.
- Cheaper Litigation
- Cases disposed of at the speed of light.
Various works of Law Commission of India
- Understand laws that affect the poor and people below poverty.
- Reviews laws that are obsolete and out of touch, then repeal them.
- Checks the laws that promote gender equality.
- The impact globalization has on food security and employment.
- Prepare a report and send it to the Central Government.
- The suggestion of new laws.
Reports of Law Commission of India
- Wrongful Prosecution (Miscarriage of Justice): Legal Remedies, Report No. 277
- Report No. 276 – Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting in India, Including Cricket
- Report No. 275 – Legal Framework: BCCI concerning the Right to Information Act of 2005
- Report No. 274 – Examination of the 1971 Contempt of Courts Act
- Report No. 273 – Application of the UN Convention Against Torture
- Report No. 272 – Evaluation of Tribunal Statutory Frameworks in India
- Human DNA Profiling (Report No. 271)
- Report No.270 – Marriage Registration Compulsory
Further Details on Law Commission of India
21st Law Commission of India
The 21st Law Commission of India was the most recent to be established. It served from 2015 to 2018. Balbir Singh Chauhan, a former Supreme Court judge, served as Chairman. It provided the government with 15 reports. Report No. 277, titled “Wrongful Prosecution (Miscarriage of Justice): Legal Remedies,” was the most recent report.
Other studies submitted by the panel included human DNA profiling, hate speech, a review of contempt of court, forced marriage registration, the BCCI, sports betting, and other topics.
Role of Law Commission of India in improving laws
The Law Commission of India plays a critical role in legal reform. The Law Commission, led by brilliant legal minds such as M.C Setalvad, Justice H.R Khanna, and Nani Palkhivala, has suggested various modifications.
Some of the Commission’s significant efforts include the fast-track court system, the development of commercial courts, electoral changes, the adoption of anti-defection legislation, and the alteration of various legal provisions of criminal and civil laws. A retired Supreme Court judge or a retired Chief Justice of the High Court is usually considered for the position of chairmanship of the Law Commission.
The nominations are made by the Administration of India, and the government has frequently been accused of “Favoritism.”
Issues such as non-implementation of the commission’s recommendations, non-statutory status, and a lack of a research back-up team in recent times have resulted in the commission’s report being less detailed, as well as a lower percentage of the made recommendations being implemented, are obstacles that impede the Law Commission of India’s efficiency.
Flaws of Law Commission of India
- Delay in the delivery of justice
The implementation of new legislation and increased awareness resulted in an increase in the number of cases in the courts, which are factors for “Delay in justice” but delay in justice may result in a miscarriage of justice and raise the expense of litigation. “Justice delayed is justice denied” as the saying goes.
- Inadequacy of law enforcement and administrative personnel
One of the major faults impeding a swift and fair trial is the inadequacy of law officers, especially administrative employees. The Law Commission of India has identified an inadequacy in the number of judicial officials in its 27th report 1964 and 213th report 2008, which is concerned with the number of arrear cases waiting in numerous courts in India. Several proposals were given to address this issue-
- Increased the number of judicial officers and their pay grade.
- The appointment of administrative workers in the courts in order to keep up with the workload.
- The Criminal Justice system need overhaul
The Law Commission of India stated in its 141st report in 1991 that the delay in justice is caused by the administration of the criminal justice system, where cases are dismissed solely on the basis of the complainant’s non-appearance.
Similarly, in its 142nd report in 1991, the commission attempted to breathe new life into Section 330 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Probation of Offenders Act. The commission’s goal was to offer the people with a rapid, cost-effective, and fair trial so that they may have faith in the justice system.
Based on its findings, the commission presented recommendations to the government for changes to the procedural criminal legislation. The following were the main recommendations made:
- Amendment to Section 256 of the Criminal Procedure Code allowing the case to be restored where the accused has been acquitted for the legitimate cause of the complainant’s non-appearance. A new Section 482A is required for the application of such a purpose.
- Re-examination and reframing of cases under multiple laws in such a way that offences that take a long time and cost a lot of money are handled with quickly at different levels.
- Plea bargaining should be implemented to deal with the massive backlog of criminal cases. Pre-trial negotiations must be incorporated in the criminal justice system so that the accused’s charge can be reduced if he or she admits to committing a crime. This procedure is known as “charge negotiating.”
- Activate the ADR mechanism
In its 213th report in 2008, the Law Commission of India advocated establishing an alternate dispute resolution mechanism to expedite the conclusion of civil matters. Arbitration, mediation, and conciliation are ADR mechanisms that allow cases to be resolved outside of the courtroom.
The commission also proposed the establishment of Lok Adalat’s and the establishment of administrative courts at the village and block levels to expedite the resolution of disputes. The 221st report, issued in 2009, further advocated urging parties to use the ADR system to expedite the resolution of civil issues.
Edited by: Tanvi Mahajan, Publisher, Law Insider