Plans to turn law panel into permanent body put on hold
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 6
A proposal to make the Law Commission into a permanent body has been put on hold by the Government which has decided to continue with the present system of reconstituting it every three years.The Department of Legal Affairs in the Law Ministry had recently proposed to make the law panel, which advises government on complex legal issues, into a permanent body either through an Act of Parliament or an executive order (resolution of the Union Cabinet).
The move to shelve the proposal came after the Prime Minister’s Office felt that the present system should continue, highly-placed sources in the government said here.
At present, the Union Cabinet re-constitutes the Commission every three years. After the Commission is reconstituted, a new Chairman and members are appointed to run the panel.
The Union Cabinet had last month approved reconstitution of the body. With the approval of the Cabinet, the Law Ministry would now constitute the 21st Law Commission as the three-year term of the 20th panel ended on August 31.
The Law Ministry is in the process of short-listing names of retired judges to head the Commission. The names could include some high court chief justices who retired in the recent past, the sources said.
A retired Supreme Court judge or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court heads the panel which was first constituted in 1955.
The various Law Commissions have been able to make important contribution towards the progressive development and codification of laws of the country.
Law Commissions have so far submitted 262 reports, a statement issued on the Cabinet decision had said. Deposing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Personnel earlier this year, Law Secretary P K Malhotra had said, “Since the Law Commission is continuously functioning since 1959 and is reconstituted every three years, it is suggested that it be made a permanent body either by an Executive Order or by an Act of Parliament.”
If the law panel is converted into a permanent body by an Act of Parliament, it will become a statutory body.
If it is made a permanent body by an executive order, it will be on the lines of the erstwhile Planning Commission or its new avatar Niti Aayog. Both were constituted by a resolution adopted by the Union Cabinet.
In 2010, the then UPA government had prepared a draft Cabinet note to give statutory status to the Law Commission and the Law Ministry had mooted to bring the Law Commission of India Bill, 2010. But the idea was shelved.