On Thursday, the Parliament passed two bills to revoke 245 laws that are obsolete. PP Chaudhary, the Minister of state for law and justice, told the Times of India that the Centre wanted to reform the legal system by repealing all laws which are archaic. A total of 1824 such laws that require annulment have been identified by the government, he said.
One of these obsolete laws is the Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1911 which criminalises public meetings in public or private spaces unless a written notice of such a meeting is given to and obtained from the District Magistrate or the Commissioner of Police three days in advance. This is one example of an archaic law passed by during the British Raj which operates till date.
The minister has also confirmed that the demand of amending Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) will be looked into by Congress member Rajeev Gowda.
Gowda has recommended an amendment in Section 377 and decriminalize consensual sex between people of the same sex.
Many of the laws that are included in this bill were framed in the 19th century and have little or no relevance today. The Dramatic Performance Act, 1876, for instance, makes theatre performances as a way of protest a criminal offence.
Since these laws belong to the British era, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has termed them as “unfortunate part of the colonial legacy.”
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The Ganges Toll Act of 1867 is one more such law that will be repealed under this bill. This law provided for tolls on the Ganges river “not exceeding 12 annas” and was formulated to encourage navigation between Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) and Dinapur (Bihar).
Chaudhary said that a two-member panel was set up in the Modi government to inspect archaic laws that find no relevance today and should be repealed. The panel, he said, has consulted the Centre, state governments as well as administrative departments before making suggestions on the repealing of these obsolete laws.