Law commission

No Headless Law Commission report

The Commission, constituted for a three-year term, issued no report after the term of the last chairman, Justice BS Chauhan, ended in August 2018.

The Commission, constituted for a three-year term, issued no report after the term of the last chairman, Justice BS Chauhan, ended in August 2018.

Two years and four months after the Ministry of Law and Justice notified the constitution of the 22nd Law Commission of India, the legal reform advisory body is functioning without a chairperson.

The Commission, constituted for a three-year term, issued no report after the term of the last chairman, Justice BS Chauhan, ended in August 2018.

Speaking on the implications of a headless law commission, former Supreme Court justice Justice Madan B. Lokur said The Hindu“It is very unfortunate that the Law Commission has become more or less obsolete.”

“Extremely important” role

He said the Law Commission had an “extremely important” role to play in terms of formulating policy for the justice delivery system. “It also has a role in identifying developments and trends in law and justice. Finally, it has a role to play in identifying bottlenecks in the administration of justice and suggesting workable solutions,” he noted.

Indira Jaising, a seasoned lawyer, said, “The Law Commission should be an important institution that drives the reform of legal change and the updating of legal knowledge. Over the years it has been reduced to an irrelevant institution”.

Rich history

After Mr. MC Setalvad, then Attorney General of India, was appointed as the first Chairman of the First Law Commission of India, 18 other jurists, including former Supreme Court Justice, Justice HR Khanna, the only dissenter from a five-member bench who heard the habeas corpus case in ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla during the state of emergency, took on the role of its leader.

More recently, former Delhi High Court Chief Justice AP Shah, who delivered the landmark 2009 judgment decriminalizing homosexuality, produced 19 reports during his three-year tenure as president. In his latest report, Judge Shah recommended the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes other than terrorism and war-related offences.

In total, the Commission produced 277 reports on various legal reform topics. Its recommendations are not binding on the government. However, it is estimated that around 45% of its recommendations have been acted upon or turned into law.

Statutory body

The Commission is a non-statutory body, which was established by the government for a three-year term. Last August, the Madras High Court ordered the government to make the Law Commission a statutory body or a constitutional body, like the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes. This, the High Court held, was necessary to make the Commission’s recommendations binding on the government.

“The whole exercise carried out by the Law Commission with research, as well as consulting various stakeholders and making recommendations would become futile if the recommendations are not acted upon,” the High Court said. .

The Center then informed the High Court that the appointment of the Chairman and members of the 22nd Laws Commission constituted on February 21, 2020 was “under consideration by the Government”.

“The non-appointment of the chairman and members of the Law Commission of India, which is like an advisory council, for a long time will affect the progress of the legislative process in the country,” the court had remarked. He then ordered the Center to appoint the President and other members of the Commission within three months. Nothing has come out of the order so far.

Commission for the States too

Justice Lokur emphasized the need for separate legal commissions for states. “The Law Commission considers primarily, if not exclusively, matters of national importance. States have their own issues and therefore I think every state should also have a law commission that can play a role in policy formulation, development and trends and remove bottlenecks regarding the state “, did he declare.

“It is extremely urgent and absolutely necessary given that each state has its own requirements. I am a strong advocate for each state to have its own law commission,” he added.