DailyPost 2549

The legislatures should be known by the quality of legislative business they transact. This is a very common expectation of the electorate. That is not the norm is also a well-accepted fact. Conversely, it’s the least known fact, which should have been the truism of every democracy by now. Does quality of law have the capability to transform a whole nation? Does it not have the capability to transform every aspect of the impacted? What percentage of parliamentarians and legislators have law making as their only work? One would always wonder as to what preparation is done by an elected representative on any bill proposed to be taken through the legislative process.

If you have been following the parliamentarians and the legislators in or out of the legislatures, they give a feeling, as if law making is an alien business, and they are not connected to it. No elected representative ever talks about the art and science of law making and what could be his contribution in the regard. No one knows the capabilities of any parliamentarian in law making or in which areas of law or systems of it, he can contribute. Even from the ones coming from the legal background, it is very rare to see any worthy legal contribution, during the process of debate leading to enactment. Though nobody expresses yet the general feeling and to a great extent reality is that law is the handiwork of the executive, technically taken through the legislature.

Not more than 10% of the elected representatives can be a part of the government, so the rest 90% have all the time to attend to this main task. Still, very rarely legislative business is discussed in this country, while every citizen, governments and the nation itself keeps struggling with the law. We are stuck up in some legal imbroglio every day. How adept are we at lawmaking, does not need any comment. What is legislative business? For the uninitiated, it is taking the bill through the process of enactment. In reality it is the whole process of deciding what is to be legislated or amended, based on hard facts (the need). This task has never been done in totality or to any considerable degree. Then it would need to be consulted up in detail with domain / subject matter experts / practitioners, lawyers, the likely enforcement machinery, and jurists to facilitate the creation of the first draft.

Either the legislature should be a part of the above exercise or take over from the first cut. Suffice to say, they should have the capabilities of both understanding and dictating the nuances of the law in the making. The ownership is theirs and not of the government. The legislature should devise ways and means to elicit maximum proactive and professional participation in the debate preceding the passage of the law. They can have set of agreed upon precursors to help members be well informed before the stage of legislative debate. Uninformed consent is itself illegal. The law becomes the law of the land and does not belong to the government. What impact it makes in first five years of it’s implementation, will give a fair idea, whether the right efforts and understanding went behind in framing of the law. It would be an important learning to tweak the process henceforth. As of now there is no feedback or any learning. Worse still, one day in the same perfunctory manner, they would repeal the law. Is all this rule of law in the first place?

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening

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