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When passed Bills do not convert into functioning laws?

Why in News?

Over the years, Parliament has repealed several laws. But there have also been examples when the government has not brought an already passed law into force.

Few such Examples

  • Two such examples are the National Environment Tribunal Act and the Delhi Rent Control Act which Parliament passed in 1995 but had never brought these laws into force.
  • Further, there are also multiple instances where a law specifies when it will come into effect. The 2013 land acquisition law put an outer limit of three months for the Centre to bring it into force after the President approved it.

Facts:

Bringing/removing a law: Parliament has the power to make a law and to remove it from the statute books (Judiciary can also strike down a law if it is unconstitutional). But the passing of a Bill does not mean that it be implemented from the next day. There are more steps, for it to become a functioning law:

First Step, President’s Assent:

  • Article 111 of the Constitution specifies that the President can either sign off on the Bill or withhold his assent. However, the Constitution does not specify a time limit for the President to approve a Bill.
  • The President rarely withholds assent to a Bill. The last time it happened was in 2006 when President A P J Abdul Kalam refused to sign a Bill protecting MPs from disqualification for holding an office of profit.
  • A Bill is sent to Parliament for reconsideration if the President withholds his or her assent on it. And if Parliament sends it back to the President, he has no choice but to approve it.

Second Step, giving effect to a Law:

  • It is deciding the date on which the law comes into effect. In the majority of cases, Parliament delegates the power to determine this date, to the government.

Third Step, Farming Rules & regulations

  • A passed Bill is just an outline of a law. For the law to start working on the ground, a ministry or department needs to be empowered to administer it.
  • The implementing ministry also needs to finalize forms to gather information and provide benefits or services. These day-to-day operational details are called rules and regulations.
  • Government is responsible for framing rules and regulations. If the government does not frame them, the law or any parts of it, will not get implemented. The Benami Transactions Act of 1988 is an example of a complete law remaining unimplemented in the absence of regulations.

Source: Indian Express

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