“Redundant Laws” by VakilNo1

Source: (http://goo.gl/e4NJqm)

The scrapping of the concurrent list will cut down on a number of areas where State legislation, often a carbon copy of the Central Act, exist only to confuse matters. It will also clearly demarcate areas for State governance and lay down uniform rules in the rest for all states to follow without question. For instance, the State of Rajasthan has always opposed provisions of the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, as many of its communities ritually smoke marijuana at wedding ceremonies.

No one have a foreign coin collection work over #500. Even a visiting foreigner can’t mail a cheque abroad because the law doesn’t allow “sending currency instruments out of the country”. Or, an exporter can’t sell a consignment at a discount after it has reached the buyer. He must bring it back and declare it to the RBI afresh, an impossibility in the case of consignments of perishables or goods with low shelf life. Naturally, if you are an Agro exporter, you take big loss and shut up, or you break the law.

The Rent Control Act, which not only discourages private investment in real estate by disallowing market fixation of rent, it forbids landlords from evicting or taking any step against defaulting tenants. But the modified Delhi Rent Act, 1995, based on the model Central Act has been termed pro-landlord and evoked strong protests.

Out of the three Procedure Codes in India, the Indian Evidence Act was passed in 1850 and the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) were passed early this century. Honorifics like outdated, lengthy, complex come easily to mind. The main problem, however, is that they are completely silent on the maximum number of days by which a case must be settled. This ensures that cases drag on interminably. While a alleged offenders waste away behind bars. With few courts and that too bursting at the seams with pending litigation, a person arrested under the CrPC may actually spend his full term in jail waiting for trial even before he’s proved guilty.

In 1992, the Supreme Court had a backlog of 1.5 lakhs cases. And the lower courts have a backlog of around 20 million. Needless to say, such a system of justice distribution is loaded highly against the poor and the weak.

The poor conviction rates also substantiate the role of procedures in serving more as instruments of harassment than proving the effectiveness of law. Delhi Police has a conviction rate of 11 per cent. Prosecution for FERA violation, which account for most of the economic crimes lead to only 2 per cent convictions. And Mumbai Commissioner admit to only 118 convicted so far under COFEPOSA, a draconian piece of legislation passed 23 years ago.

What’s worse is that unlike other countries, India doesn’t have the practice of pare-trial consultations and conferences which can help fast settlement and weed out many cases before they reach court. The entire procedure is done in court, thereby stretching litigation time.

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