Post-legislative scrutiny


Post-legislative scrutiny


Post-legislative scrutiny
Facts:
  • India has 2500 laws at central level, one of the highest
  • Post-legislative scrutiny is a norm is developed countries like US, Australia, Canada etc.
Why Post-Legislative Scrutiny is needed?
  • Policy-makers and bureaucrats have no systematic evidence about the efficacy and performance of a law because there is no provision of post scrutiny. They mostly use anecdotes and evidence provided by non-official sources such as corporates or NGOs and advocacy groups to argue for or against an amendment in a law
  • These reviews can be designed to assess whether the objectives and the anticipated effects of a piece of legislation have actually taken place on the ground.
  • They can also identify any unintended effects that may have arisen from the legislation.
  • Another benefit would be the systematic collection of data that would be a pre-requisite of any evaluation of this kind
  • Incorporate changes in technology : For eg, Press trust of India was formed to regulate print media. With growth of broadcast and online media there is need for legislation to regulate them
  • Incorporate changes in societal standards : many countries have legalised gay marriages, passive euthanasia and abolished death penalty due to change in societal standards
  • Assess administrative capacity : as many laws are difficult to enforce due to poor capacity and need reassessment for e.g. ban on public smoking, public urination etc.
  • To fill loopholes in the law : many laws have been exploited in the past ex. land ceiling acts, section 8 (3) of the RPA act etc.
  • Check the possible fallouts and irrelevance : for e.g.. under IT act, 2000, section 66 which had a chilling impact on free speech, POCA act has prevented officers from taking risky decisions
  • Judicial impact assessment of laws must be done to prevent unnecessary burdening of judiciary.
  • Social impact assessment to prevent societal distortions
How Post-Legislative Scrutiny can be done?
  1. Compulsory provision of review by parliament after certain time.
  2. Use of sunset clauses in laws dealing with sensitive issues such as preventive detention.
  3. Mandatory assessment by parliamentary departmental standing committees on the effectiveness of law.
  4. Setting up of committees: as in case of environmental laws ( T S R Subramanian ), review of company act etc.