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Make Access to Law Easy, Delhi High Court to Government

The Delhi High Court has directed the Secretary of the Legislative Department to convene a meeting to discuss ways to implement suggestions made by an expert to ease the problems faced by citizens to freely access accurate and comprehensive set of laws in India.

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Updated:June 13, 2017, 2:17 PM IST
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Make Access to Law Easy, Delhi High Court to Government
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed the Secretary of the Legislative Department to convene a meeting to discuss ways to implement suggestions made by an expert to ease the problems faced by citizens to freely access accurate and comprehensive set of laws in India.

The suggestions made by amicus curiae Jayant Bhushan stated that there was an urgent need to address certain pressing issues which were hurdles for citizens to freely access legal texts like laws, Acts, notifications.

Secondly, government web portals, he said, suffer from serious design flaws leading to a problematic experience in searching for a legislation. Additionally, the HC was told that the legal system does not consist of standalone laws and often includes rules, regulations, notifications, circulars which are often missing.

Justice Manmohan Singh has noted that the suggestions were “valuable” and must be “considered at the highest level.”

Justice Singh has now directed the Secretary of Legislative department to invite Jayant Bhushan, along with senior officials from the NIC, Ministry of Information Technology and Department of Printing, Ministry of Urban Development for further deliberations.

The meeting is expected to be convened in July, minutes of which will be submitted to the court.

The suggestions include adopting the legislative XML format for all legislations, like how the United States or United Kingdom does. Bhushan also suggested that since every law has accompanying rules, regulations, notifications, etc, each law should be given a Unique ID so that all subsequent rules, and regulations can be included directly under the unique ID of the parent act.

The amicus curiae has suggested that the e-Gazette search engine, which houses rules and notifications, is not intuitive. He also stated that the IndiaCode website which stores all the subordinate legislations is often not functional. He suggested opening up a website even for states so as to aid them to upload their state laws, amendments and help keep the platform updated.

Bhushan also calls for uploading the consolidated version of Pre-1947 legislations. He further stated that there should be one database or portal designated to storing all things legal. Bhushan has cited examples of United Kingdom and Australia where such conditions are prevalent.

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