Law Commission of India

Author: Ritika Sharma

Law Commission of India

What is Law Commission of India

Law Commission of India is an executive body which is formed by the government. It is neither a statutory nor a constitutional body. It is an Advisory body constituted to give Proposals for Reforms to the Ministry of Law and Justice. There is no defined meaning of the Law Commission of India in our Indian Constitution. However, Article 39A of the Constitution talks about Equal Justice and Free Legal Aid and the establishment of the Law Commission of India is a way of implementation of this provision.

History of Law Commission

This concept of Law Commission is prevalent from the times of British rule and the first Law Commission was formed in the year 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833. The head of this Law Commission was Lord Macaulay.

The various Law Commission have been able to make important contributions towards the progressive development and codification of Law of the country. The Law Commission has so far submitted 277 reports.[1] After independence, 22 Law Commissions have been formed till now. The first Law Commission was set up in 1955 and was headed by Mr. M.C. Setalvad who was the First Attorney General of India. The 22nd Law Commission was formed recently on February 25, 2020.

Constitution of Law Commission

A new Law Commission is established after the Central Government passes resolution and then the President has to give assent to the resolution. It is done after the expiry of the tenure of the previous Law Commission. The head of the Law Commission is the Chairman who is selected by the Central Government. A Law Commission generally consists of the following members:

  • Chairman
  • Permanent
  • Member Secretary
  • Six part time members

Functions of Law Commission

The Law Commission has the main objective to do legal research, highlight loopholes, and make proposals for reforms in the present laws of the countries. The significant functions which Law Commission perform are as follows:

  • It reviews and repeals the old laws. The Law Commission works to repeal and review the laws which are not in harmony with other laws. Secondly, the laws which are not necessary or which require amendments are reviewed by the Commission.
  • It also reviews the judicial administration from time to time, ensuring that the judicial mechanism is fulfilling the role with which the laws were being framed by the legislator. For this following steps are undertaken by the Commission:

(i) Elimination of delays, speedy clearance of arrears, and reduction in costs so as to secure quick and economical disposal of cases without affecting the cardinal principle that decisions should be just and fair.

(ii) Simplification of the procedure to reduce and eliminate technicalities and devices for the delay so that it operates not as an end in itself but as a means of achieving justice.

(iii) Improvement of standards of all concerned with the administration of justice. [2]

  • The Commission evaluates the laws which impact the poorer sections of the society. Gender equality is also an important factor on the basis of which the Law Commission proposes reforms.
  • It advises several reforms taking into consideration Directive Principles of the State Policy (Articles 36-51) of the Constitution of India. Secondly, it provides suggestions in framing or amending laws so that the objectives reflected in the Preamble to the Constitution of India could be achieved.
  • It revises the Central Acts of general importance so as to simplify them and to remove anomalies, ambiguities, and inequities. Also, it recommends to the Government measures for making the statute book up to date by repealing obsolete laws and enactments or parts thereof which have outlived their utility.[3]
  • In case the government asks to review any subject of law, it is the function of the Commission to provide suggestions for the same. Similarly, it considers requests by foreign countries to research in the field of various legal issues.

Reports of Law Commission

The Law Commission has submitted 277 reports till now and the suggestions made in the reports are not obligatory on the Government. Some of the recent reports by the 21st Law Commission made in the years 2017 and 2018 are as follows:

  • Report No. 271: Human DNA Profiling (2017)
  • Report No. 272: Assessment of Statutory framework of Tribunals in India (2017)
  • Report No. 273: Implementation of the United Nations Convention Against torture (2017)
  • Report No. 274: Review of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 (2018)
  • Report No. 275: Legal Framework BCCI vis-a-vis Right to Information Act, 2005 (2018)
  • Report No. 276: Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India (2018)
  • Report No. 277: Wrongful Prosecution (Miscarriage of Justice): Legal Remedies (2018)

22nd Law Commission

22nd Law Commission set up on 15th February 2020, on a reference made to it by the Central Government or suo-moto, undertake research in law and review of existing laws in India for making reforms therein and enacting new legislations. It shall also undertake studies and research for bringing reforms in the justice delivery systems for elimination of delay in procedures, speedy disposal of cases, reduction in the cost of litigation, etc.[4]

The 22nd Law Commission consists of the following members:

  • a full-time Chairperson;
  • four full-time Members (including Member-Secretary)
  • Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs as ex-officio Member;
  • Secretary, Legislative Department as ex officio Member; and
  • not more than five part-time Members.

Conclusion

Law Commission is an important body established with the aim to review, repeal, amend, suggest, and propose reforms in the field of law. As nothing is static in the world, therefore with the motive to reform the laws with the changing needs of the society and judicial mechanism, the Commission performs its functions. The role of the Law Commission includes analyzing laws and making them better for the marginalized section of the society. Making various legal developments so that the country can have unbiased and justifiable laws is the primary task of this body.


[1] Cabinet approves constitution of 22nd Law Commission of India for a term of 3 years, available at: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1603640 (Last visited; March 28, 2020)

[2] Law Commission of India, available at: http://legalaffairs.gov.in/sites/default/files/LAW%20COMMISSION%20OF%20INDIA.pdf (Last visited: March 28 2020)

[3] Ibid

[4] Supra note 1

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