New Delhi: Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah Monday said that the Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was meant to be a “temporary” provision since the beginning and the framers of the Constitution had put it there “intelligently”.
Inaugurating a training programme on the legislative drafting organised by PRIDE and ICPS for officers of the parliament, state legislatures, various ministries, statutory bodies, and other government departments in New Delhi, the home minister while referring to Article 370, which the BJP government at the Centre repealed in 2019, said that the entire country wanted that the provision of the constitution should not be in existence.
He said that when Article 370 was framed, it was mentioned in the index as ‘Temporary Provision of Article 370’.
Shah said that even debates on the Article 370 were missing from the records of constituent assembly debates and that they were not printed.
An official spokesman in a statement issued on Press Information Bureau (PIB) said that in his address, Shah said that legislative drafting was a crucial component of democracy and lack of knowledge about it not only weakens the laws, but the entire democratic system and it also affects the functioning of the judiciary.
He said that it was important for any democratic country that its legislative drafting skills keep upgrading and becoming more efficient with time.
The home minister paid tributes to freedom fighter Sukhdev on his birth anniversary and former Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat on his death anniversary.
He said that Indian democracy was acknowledged as the world’s largest democracy, and in a way, democracy was born in India as its idea emerged in India only.
“We have incorporated the traditions of democracy across India,” Shah said. “The Constitution of India is considered to be the most perfect constitution in the world and the people who framed our constitution not only incorporated the country's traditional democratic values in it but also tried to modernise it according to the needs of contemporary times.”
He said that there were three main pillars of democracy – legislature, executive, and judiciary and India’s constitution framers built the entire democratic governance system on these three pillars.
The home minister said that the functions of these three systems had been efficiently divided.
He said that the function of the legislature was to consider public welfare and problems of the people and find the solutions, following legal procedures.
Shah said that the parliament discusses the changes being noticed across different fields globally, and accordingly formulates new laws and amends old laws to make the system more relevant.
He said that consequently, following the spirit of the newly framed law, the executive performs its function of implementing it.
The home minister said that in India, the judiciary works independently to interpret the law in case of a dispute.
He said that the constitution framers divided the roles of these three pillars in India’s entire democratic system.
Shah said that the function of the Legislative Department was to formulate the political will of the parliament and the union cabinet into law.
He said that the function of the Legislative Department was to provide legal format to the political will and ways to solve the problems of the people and different needs of the country and for this reason, drafting attained great importance.
The home minister said that if the drafting were better, it would be easier to educate about the law with minimal chances of errors by the executive.
He said that if grey areas were left in the drafting, it would lead to encroachment in interpretation, while, if the drafting were complete and lucid, its interpretation would also be clear.
Shah said that the parliament was the most powerful organ of the government and its strength was the law.
He said that legislative drafting was the most important method of governing any country in a good way.
The home minister said that while translating parliament’s and people’s will into law, many things had to be taken into account, like the constitution, customs, culture, historical heritage, structure of governance, society, socio-economic development of the country and international treaties.
He said that legislative drafting was not a science or an art, but a skill, which had to be used with spirit.
Shah said that the focus should always be on minimising the grey areas and the law should be clear.
He said that during the process of converting government policies into laws, it was necessary to study the old and least controversial laws.
The home minister said that writing was a skill and punctuation marks should be used with great care and skill in legislative drafting.
He said that apart from this, the draftsman should also have good command over language because it was important to reflect the spirit of the language.
Shah said that every language had a limit and mere translation of the words would not work, but translation of the spirit should be done.
He said that the capacity building was a continuous process and it was very important to upgrade the skills of the law-drafting team in every department of the parliament and state legislature of the states.
The home minister said that the world was changing fast and there was a need to keep pace with the changing world and also mould laws according to the present needs.
He said that those who would not be open would become obsolete and irrelevant.
Shah said that drafting should be done in as simple and clear words as possible because a law drafted in clichéd words always creates controversy.
He said that the more simple and clear the law was in words, the more it remained undisputed.
The home minister said that making such a law that the court does not need to intervene was a medal for drafting a good law.
He said that the aim should be to draft the law in simple and clear language.
Shah said that since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, the government had worked a lot in the field of laws and since 2015 till now the government had done the work of repealing thousands of irrelevant laws.
He said that by doing this, the government led by PM Modi had done the work of liberating the lawyers, society, and courts from the jungle of laws.
The home minister said that the government led by PM Modi had also enacted many laws in accordance with the time in the interest of the country.
He said that while writing the law, one should not hesitate to express the intention of the legislature clearly, without ambiguity, in simple and clear words.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Culture Arjun Ram Meghwal, and Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla were also present on the occasion.