Monday, February 13, 2012

State law commission lying in coma, govt ready to pull the plug

KapilDave : Gandhinagar

The Gujarat government is likely to close down the nearly defunct State Law Commission, which it says has not contributed anything significant for years. One short extension was given to the commission till June 30, 2012, a few days ago.

The commission, which was formed in December 1998 to review existing laws and suggest new ones for better governance, has failed to give any report to the state government since June 2005, when it gave its last report to amend the Bombay Police Act, which is still pending with the state home department.

Since 1998, the commission has given 58 reports to the state government for repealing and amending old acts and enacting new ones.

In August 2011, the tenure of Justice (retired) J N Bhatt, the last chairperson of the commission, ended after which he was appointed as the chairperson of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). The post has been lying vacant since. In his three-year term, Justice (retired) Bhatt did not file a single report.

The State Law Commission is a three-member body. However, the post of two members (one government nominee and the other an independent citizen) have been lying vacant for several years.

The commission has around 20 full-time employees, from the level of deputy secretary to the office boy.

The state’s legislative and parliamentary affairs department gave one more extension to the commission after its term ended on last December 31.

Sources in the department said, “Though the department has given one more extension to the commission, the state government is in no mood to continue with it since there is no substantial work for the commission. The government intends to close down the commission soon.”

State’s Law, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dilip Sanghani said, “At present, we are not considering the names of any new chairperson or other members for the commission. The government will decide in due course on the issue.”

He avoided any specific reply on the future of the commission.


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