Law Commission of India (21st)
» Law Commission of India is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. Its major function is to work for legal reform. Its membership primarily comprises legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Government. The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice.
» In other words, Law Commission of India is neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body. It is truly an ad hoc and advisory body whose work is to do research and make recommendations for law reforms such as amendments and updations of prevalent and inherited laws. None of these recommendations is binding upon the Government.
» The first Law Commission was established during the British Raj era in 1834 by the Charter Act of 1833. After that, three more Commissions were established in pre-independent India.
» The first Law Commission of independent India was established in 1955 for a three-year term. Since then, 21 more Commissions have been established.
» The term of the 20th Law Commission headed by former Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah ended on 31 March 2015.
» The present Law Commission (21st) was established in 2015 and has tenure to 2018.
» Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, a former judge of the Supreme Court was appointed Chairman of the 21st Law Commission on 10 March.
» Justice Chauhan is currently heading the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal.
» One of the key issues pending before the Law Commission is a call on amending the Indian Penal Code (IPC) amid allegations of abuse and arbitrary use of the law.
» The Commission is headed by a full-time Chairperson. It membership primarily comprises legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Government. For example, the 21st Law commission would be comprised of:
1. full-time Chairperson;
2. four full-time Members (including a Member-Secretary);
3. Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs as ex off do Member;
4. Secretary, Legislative Department as ex offcio Member; and not more than five part-time Members.
» The Law Commission shall, on a reference made to it by the Central Government or suo-motu, 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 cost of litigation etc.
» The other functions of the Law Commission shall, inter-alia, include:
1. Identification of laws which are no longer relevant and recommending for the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments;
2. Suggesting enactment of new legislations as may be necessary to implement the Directive Principles and to attain the objectives set out in the Preamble of the Constitution;
3. Considering and conveying to the Government its views on any subject relating to law and judicial administration that may be specifically referred to it by the Government through Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Legal Affairs);
4. Considering the requests for providing research to any foreign countries as may be referred to it by the Government through Ministry of Law & Justice (Department of Legal Affairs);
5. Preparing and submitting to the Central Government, from time to time, reports on all issues, matters, studies and research undertaken by it and recommending in such reports for effective measures to be taken by the Union or any State; and
6. Performing such other functions as may be assigned to it by the Central Government from time to time.
Who is the head of 21st Law Commission?
The Union Government has appointed former Supreme Court (SC) judge Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan (66) as Chairman of the 21st Law Commission of India (LCI).