Repealing a law

News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on November 19 announced the repeal of three contentious farm laws. He assured farmer groups protesting against these laws that the legislative process for the repeal would be completed in the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament.

Which laws are to be repealed?

  • The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, which is aimed at allowing trade in agricultural produce outside the existing APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis;
  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, which seeks to provide a framework for contract farming;
  • The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, which is aimed at removing commodities such as cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potato from the list of essential commodities.

Repealing a law:

  • Repealing a law is one of the ways to nullify a law. A law is reversed when Parliament thinks there is no longer a need for the law to exist.
  • Legislation can also have a “sunset” clause, a particular date after which they cease to exist.
  • The government can repeal the laws in two ways — it can either bring a Bill to repeal the three laws or promulgate an ordinance that will have to be subsequently replaced with a Bill within six months.
  • For repeal, the power of Parliament is the same as enacting a law under the Constitution.
  • Article 245 of the Constitution which gives Parliament the power to make laws also gives the legislative body the power to repeal them through the Repealing and Amending Act.
  • The Act was first passed in 1950 when 72 Acts were repealed. A law can be repealed either in its entirety, in part, or even just to the extent that it is in contravention of other laws.
  • Laws can be repealed in two ways — either through an ordinance, or through legislation.
  • In case an ordinance is used, it would need to be replaced by a law passed by Parliament within six months.
  • If the ordinance lapses because it is not approved by Parliament, the repealed law can be revived.
  • The government can also bring legislation to repeal the farm laws.
  • It will have to be passed by both Houses of Parliament, and receive the President’s assent before it comes into effect. All three farm laws can be repealed through a single legislation. Usually, Bills titled Repealing and Amendment are introduced for this purpose.