The Centre has reportedly informed a Parliamentary Standing Committee that it is planning to turn the Law Commission of India into a permanent body, instead of reconstituting it every three years.
Secretary P.K. Malhotra of the Department of Legal Affairs disclosed the plan when the demand for Grants to the Law Commission came up for discussion before a Parliamentary Standing Committee. He said, “Since the Law Commission of India 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.”
The Committee hence recommended, “Since the Law Commission of India is being regularly reconstituted since 1959 and its reports are considered seriously both inside and outside the Government, its relevance would never be relegated to the background. The Government may explore the possibility of making it a permanent body.”
The Committee also recommended that “the Government should take decision on the recommendation of the Law Commission in a time-bound manner preferably within a year of submission of the report.”
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.
After independence, the Constitution of India with its Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy gave a new direction to law reform geared to the needs of a democratic legal order in a plural society. Though the Constitution stipulated the continuation of pre-Constitution Laws (Article 372) till they are amended or repealed, there had been demands in Parliament and outside for establishing a Central Law Commission to recommend revision and updating of the inherited laws to serve the changing needs of the country. The Government of India reacted favorably and established the First Law Commission of Independent India in 1955 with the then Attorney-General of India, Mr. M. C. Setalvad, as its Chairman.
The present commission constituted on September 1, 2012 for a three-year tenure has so far submitted 13 reports dealing with obsolete laws, criminal law amendments and electoral reforms.