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Letter to BS: Procedure for legislation, cabinet notes should be respected

While a draft law undergoes many checks in the government departments, the check exercised by a Member of Parliament during the legislation is most crucial as it is the last stage of scrutiny

Business Standard 

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This refers to the editorial “Too many errors” (October 7). Drafting of any law is a highly skilled job in terms of the choice of words, clarity of language and structure of sentences. It requires minute attention as shifting a mere comma can change the meaning. It is debatable whether we have such expertise in the ministries given the litigation many Acts lead to.

While a draft law undergoes many checks in the government departments, the check exercised by a Member of Parliament during the legislation is most crucial as it is the last stage of scrutiny. Legislation is the MPs’ primary function but nowadays they spend much less time on debate because a major part of a Parliament session is lost due to disruptions of various kinds. Moreover, when the government shows undue haste in passing a Bill such as relating to Article 370, the Opposition has to play a watchdog’s role -- be alert and inquisitive. Yet, MPs have made a practice of quickly passing the Bills mostly without due application of mind. Thus, when the Act pertaining to removal of the provisions of Art 370 was passed without any MP detecting even one mistake out of the 52 including punctuation marks, it speaks more of the lack of interest than that of knowledge.

Lastly, countries like Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and United States are simplifying the language of the law but we are still clinging to an incomprehensible language in which “the presents” means “a document”, Latin expressions are quoted as a proof of expertise, definitions run to 50 or more words with several commas and words like “aforesaid” and “the said” are used freely. Some MP should take the initiative to get rid of this baggage.

Y G Chouksey, Pune


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First Published: Mon, October 07 2019. 21:14 IST
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