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Subordinate legislation should not be delayed, say MPs

Posted on Nov 29, 06:51PM | IANS

Subordinate legislation should be easy to understand, have limited scope of discretion by the executive, and should be framed without delay and with wider involvement of people, MPs from various political parties said here Wednesday.

Speaking at the first annual conference on effective legislatures organised by PRS Legislative Research, the parliament members also expressed concern over frequent disruptions of both houses.

Participating in a session on "Parliament's scrutiny of executive rule-making", Ajay Kumar of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik, said that subordinate legislations should be formulated in stipulated time.

Subordinate legislation deals with detailed rule-making of the law passed by legislatures. In most cases, legislature enacts a law covering the general principles and policies and leaves detailed rule-making to the government to allow for expediency and flexibility.

The government is required to frame the rules in accordance with the policy laid down by the legislature. Such rules are called subordinate legislation and may be referred as rules, regulations, bye-laws, orders and notification.

Kumar said that people should be involved in the process of finalising subordinate legislation.

"There is need to increase literacy of citizens about parliamentary procedures. The primary focus should be whether rules tabled in time. Those with huge public interface require close scrutiny," he said.

Kumar said that subordinate legislations should leave "limited" scope of discretion to the executive.

Uday Singh, of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said successive governments have not been keen on extending the number of days parliament meets in a year.

"Faster they get over session, the happier (they are)," he said.

Singh said question of orderly functioning of parliament "is germane to whether it is having proper oversight (of executive rule-making)".

Congress MP Hamdullah Sayeed said there was need for giving publicity to subordinate legislation for wider participation of people.

"There should be wide consultation so that any anomaly is removed," he said.

Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Jayant Chaudhary said that the government should have flexibility in rule making but the rules should not supersede the original Act.

"It is a question of balance, how much you put in the Act and leave it to the executive," he said.

M.R. Madhavan of PRS Legislative Research suggested that the ministries could give draft rules when legislations go to the standing committees for scrutiny.

Nripendra Mishra, director, Public Interest Foundation, who moderated the discussion, said that guidelines for rule-making should be laid down strictly.

"The best form of scrutiny (is to) lay down clear conditions and directions for rule making powers so that any violation evokes condemnation by legislature," he said.

Both houses of parliament have standing committee on subordinate legislation.