Imphal, June 22 2017: Under the Indian Motor Vehicles Act 1914, an Inspector in Andhra Pradesh must have well-brushed teeth, and will be disqualified if he has a pigeon chest, knock knees, flatfeet and hammer toes .
This is one among a tangle of bizarre, archaic laws, which survived for years like a relic in a museum but with no relevance in modern India .
Many of these rules put up obstacles to running smooth administration and ease to do business.
The Narendra Modi Government had made it clear at its inception that it was time for these dinosaurs to go extinct .
Among the myriad laws in India, there are those that made strange demands.
A century-old one said the toll tax for boats ferrying passengers across the river Ganga cannot be more than two annas – a denomination not in use any more .
According to another one, policemen in some States have to ensure that air-dropped pamphlets do not fall in their areas.
This was aimed to foil the propaganda campaign during World War II .
A 200-year-old law allowed the British monarch to review decisions of all Indian Courts.
But these Acts are now history .
OLD LAWS SWIFTLY SCRAPPED
The Modi Government is creating a record of sorts in scrapping these old, redundant and archaic laws from statute books .
While successive Governments could remove just 1,301 obsolete laws which came in the way of smooth administration and economic growth in 65 years, the present Central Government has managed to weed out as many as 1,200 Acts in just three years.
As many as 1,824 more obsolete central Acts have been identified for repeal .
The Opposition-dominated Upper House too played its part when it passed the Bills concerning repeal of 1,159 Central laws.
The Rajya Sabha passed four such Bills .
“The Modi Government is determined to relegate several archaic Acts to history.
Laws need to be consonant with the times.
1,200 redundant Acts have been scrapped.
1,824 more have been identified for repeal,” said Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad .
Before this, under the Indian Aircraft Act, 1934, kites were also aircraft and you needed to obtain a permit as required for an aeroplane .
Under the Indian Treasure Trove Act, 1878 you could have been jailed if you found anything worth more than Rs 10 and did not report it to a revenue officer .
During the 2014 election campaign, Modi promised that if the BJP came to power, for every law passed, his Government would repeal 10 obsolete ones .
Laws on licence to kill and capture of wild elephants in certain circumstances, segregation and medical treatment of lepers, regulating the grant of titles to qualified persons in western medical science and prohibition of pledging of labour of children (child slavery) are among those abolished .
Also have been dumped are some archaic rules regulating recruitment of foreigners during pre-Independence period, agreement with Pakistan on exchange of prisoners, continuation of use of Courts in Bengal, Assam and Punjab for those who migrated to Pakistan and power to regulate prices of newspapers.
There were many more laws in the statute books which had been of no use as provisions of most of the old Acts had already been incorporated in new legislation .
But time is running out for such laws.
The Government had formed a committee headed by R Ramanujam, secretary to the Prime Minister’s office, to re-examine all Acts recommended to be repealed by the earlier committee on Review of Administrative Laws set up by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998 .
After taking the help of the Law Commission, the panel is submitting periodic reports .
Source: The Sangai Express