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LAW COMMISSIONS

Law is a set of rules enacted or customary in communities and recognized as enjoining or prohibiting certain actions, enforced by the imposition of penalties on the wrong doer for breaking the rules. In the ancient times, the laws were religious or customary in origin, however since the third decade of the 19th century, the Law Commissions were constituted by the governments from time to time. They were empowered to recommend legislative reforms. The first such Commission was established in U.K. in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the chairmanship of Lord Macaulay which recommended codification of the penal and criminal procedure codes. The second, third & fourth Law Commissions constituted in 1853,1861 & 1879 contributed to produce Indian Evidence Act, Indian Contract Act and Transfer of Property Act adapted to the Indian conditions on the pattern of prevailing English Laws.

After independence of India, the Constitution of India was drafted based on the various constitutional processes operating in different countries of the world suiting to the political, social, and economic conditions in India. The fundamental rights in India owe a great deal to American Bill of Rights; parliamentary form of Government is based on the British Model; Australia’s experience was useful for formulating “center – state financial relationship”; and the Dirertive Principles of the state policy where drawn from the Irish constitution. However the Constituent Assembly and the framers of the constitution have made certain innovations and adopted new approaches suiting to our people’s needs. There is no parallel concept of  “central - state relationship” in any federal constitution of the world. The Constitution of India became effective on 26th January 1950. Its article 372, stipulates the continuation of pre-established laws till they are amended or repealed. Thus there was a need for establishing Central Law Commission to recommend revision and updating laws to suit and serve the changing scenario.

The first Law Commission of the independent India was established in the year 1955 with Attorney – General of India Mr. M.C Setalvad as its chairman. Since then eighteen Law Commissions were appointed with three-year term and with certain terms of reference. They till now have produced 201 reports so far. The reports of the Central Law Commission are considered by ministry of law, G.O.I. in consultation with the concerned administrative ministries and submitted to the parliament from time to time. They are acted upon by the Government Departments on the recommendations of the government. Dr. Justice A.R. Laxmanan heads the present i.e. 18th Law Commission, with Dr. Brahm A Agarwal, as the secretary of the Commission.

 

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