SC asks govt to spell out pause in Law Commission appointments

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Home and Law Ministries to explain the nearly three-year-long lapse in making appointments to the Law Commission.

The posts of Chairperson and Members have been vacant ever since the 21st Law Commission under the former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.S. Chauhan, completed its tenure on August 31, 2018.

The government approved the constitution of the 22nd Law Commission on February 19 last. However, it has not appointed the Chairperson and Members till date.

A Bench led by Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde issued notice on a petition filed by advocate A.K. Upadhyay to direct the government to make the appointments.

If not, alternatively, Mr. Upadhyay suggested, the court itself, as the custodian of the Constitution and protector of fundamental rights, could use its constitutional power to appoint the Chairperson and Members and declare the Commission a statutory body.

โ€œInjury to public is extremely large as the Law Commission is headless since 1.9.2018, and hence unable to examine public issues. Even the directions of the constitutional courts to the Law Commission have become dead letter,โ€ Mr. Upadhyay submitted.

Legal reforms

The petition said the lack of a specialised body in the Law Commission handicapped the governmentโ€™s push for legal reforms and review of the existing laws.

โ€œThe Law Commission of not only identifies laws no longer needed or relevant and can be immediately repealed, but also examines the existing laws in the light of Directive Principles of State Policy and suggest the ways of improvement and reform. The Commission also suggests such legislations as might be necessary to implement Directive Principles and to attain the objectives set out in Preamble of the Constitution,โ€ the petition said.

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