- 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?
- Compulsory provision of review by parliament after certain time.
- Use of sunset clauses in laws dealing with sensitive issues such as preventive detention.
- Mandatory assessment by parliamentary departmental standing committees on the effectiveness of law.
- Setting up of committees: as in case of environmental laws ( T S R Subramanian ), review of company act etc.