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RS deputy chairman seeks 'sunset clause' for redundant laws

By Jatin Takkar
November 17, 2021 17:53 IST
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Calling for a 'sunset clause' for redundant laws, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh on Wednesday described assurances given by previous governments on the floor of the house as 'empty promises' and said some have been pending for 25-30 years in legislatures across the country.

IMAGE: Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh. Photograph: ANI Photo

Addressing the centenary year celebrations of the All India Presiding Officers Conference organised in the Himachal Pradesh State Assembly, Harivansh suggested various reforms to make law making legislatures more dynamic.

Among these is a 'sunset clause' in laws.


It has been observed, he told the gathering, that assurances given on the floor of the house have been pending in many legislative assemblies for 25-35 years.

"… Similarly, 842 assurances are lying in the Rajya Sabha from different ministries, out of which a large number are from before 10 years. The position of assurances in the Lok Sabha will also be similar. Assurances are many years old. What is their reality?

"The fact is these are just empty promises," Harivansh said.

The pending assurances, he added, were given by previous executives which had moved out of power long back. They had neither any budgetary provision nor were included in government planning, he explained.

"In this way, everyone knows that they are not going to be implemented. Still… parliamentary committee meetings are being held on these assurances. It takes so much effort. Government capital is being spent on it. Should we not revisit such other provisions also?" Harivansh asked.

Discussing redundant laws and the need for a sunset clause, the deputy chairperson of the Upper House applauded the Modi government for repealing 1,479 redundant laws between 2014 and 2019.

Besides, 500 such laws were repealed in Uttar Pradesh in the last four years and 1,300 in Karnataka from 2003 to 2020, he added.

"Along with the removal of obsolete laws, the extent and duration of new laws should also be seen. A sunset clause is put in Acts that are passed in many countries, due to which those Acts automatically expire after some period. It should be considered here as well."

Citing the examples of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology in Britain and Committee of Futures in Finland, Harivansh said similar initiatives should be taken in India to keep in pace with changing times in the era of technology and artificial intelligence.

An assurance, undertaking or promise or the like, is given on the floor of the House by ministers. This is in response to the demand of an individual legislator or a party on the floor of the house.

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Jatin Takkar
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