OMG: Pre-World War-II era law still exists in India

New Delhi, Nov 3: Even 67 years after India's Independence, the country's statute book still has a law which provides for punishment to those who dissuade people from taking part in a war in which the "British Empire" is involved.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1938, framed just before the World War-II that started a year later, is one of the 73 obsolete laws recommended by the Law Commission for repeal, taking the number of such laws to 258.

The law provided for punishment of certain acts prejudicial to the recruitment of persons to serve in the armed forces of the Union. It was enacted to punish persons who made public speeches to dissuade people from enlisting in the defence forces and from taking part in any war in which the British Empire was engaged.

"This Act was meant to serve the needs of the British Empire and is now redundant. There is no evidence of recent use of this Act. Hence, the Central Government should repeal this Act," 'Report 250' of the Commission recommended.

Another Act recommended for repeal is the Hindu Inheritance (Removal of Disabilities) Act, 1928. It provides that no person governed by Hindu law would be excluded from any right or share in joint family property by reason only of any disease, deformity, or physical or mental defect. However, the Act excluded a person who had been from "birth a lunatic or an idiot".

"The purpose of the Act has now been subsumed by Section 28 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 which provides that no person shall be disqualified from succeeding to any property on the ground of any disease, defect or deformity...The 1928 Act is now redundant," the report said.

In its third interim report submitted to the Law Ministry, the panel recommended repeal of 73 more Acts. In its three reports to the government, it has recommended repeal of 258 laws which are clogging the statute books as they have lost their relevance.


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