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Plea Before Madras HC For A Single Website With All State Enactments And Subordinate Legislations Dismissed As Withdrawn

Sebin James
23 March 2022 7:37 AM GMT
Plea Before Madras HC For A Single Website With All State Enactments And Subordinate Legislations Dismissed As Withdrawn
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Madras High Court has dismissed as withdrawn a case filed by India Awake For Transparency Private Limited, seeking a direction to ensure that all State Acts, Rules, Regulations and Notifications are made available and updated on a single website managed by the Tamil Nadu government.Today, when the matter was taken up for admission, the counsel appearing for the non-profit private company,...

Madras High Court has dismissed as withdrawn a case filed by India Awake For Transparency Private Limited, seeking a direction to ensure that all State Acts, Rules, Regulations and Notifications are made available and updated on a single website managed by the Tamil Nadu government.

Today, when the matter was taken up for admission, the counsel appearing for the non-profit private company, stated that he was not pressing the matter before the bench since the petitioner has given an undertaking in a similar matter pending before the Supreme Court.

Taking note of the submission made by the counsel, Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy allowed the petitioner to withdraw the plea.

Apart from a single website for all the state legislations, the plea had also sought additional reliefs in terms of making the State Law Department filing a status report detailing the current online availability of updated versions of all Acts, Rules and Regulations and those currently in force.

The plea made by the petitioner also wanted the process to be consultative by constituting an expert committee of advocates of the High Court, representatives from IIT Madras and Corporate Law Officers so that the design and functional aspects of the website can make it easier for the layman to access.

The petitioner had also referred to the directions issued in a case before the Delhi High Court, Union of India v. Vansh Sharad Gupta (WP(C) 4761/2016, by virtue of which the Union Government revamped IndiaCode as an online depository of Central Acts, Stae Acts and their subordinate Rules and Regulations.

The petitioner argued that the above option alone won't suffice and the State Acts and its subordinate legislations must be uploaded in the Tamil language as well in the suggested Website since the official language of the subordinate courts is still Tamil.

Stating that it is the duty of the state government to create a single repository to make sure that the citizens are aware of the increasingly complex laws, the plea further added that the basic infrastructure for the website is already available with nic.in. The petitioner also added that the relief sought would come within the ambit of access to justice guaranteed as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The petitioner argued that the state government has not taken action on a representation made by the petitioner in 2019. The petitioner added that the court's intervention is necessary since the allocation of funds would become essential to complete the process in a time-bound manner using modern technology.

The petitioner justified his plea for a single website by contending that laws are becoming highly technical and a layperson may not even realise that he is committing an offence while doing his normal work. The plea also adds that the subordinate legislations are frequently amended and it's necessary to ensure that citizens can easily access the updated versions of legislations that are chronologically categorised. According to the petitioner, this is important because some of the Rules and Regulations might have retrospective or retroactive application apart from prospective application.

Case Title: India Awake For Transparency Private Limited v. The Secretary, Department Of Law

Case No: W.P No. 6581/ 2022

[With Inputs From Upasana Sajeev]

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