PIB Year End Review 2020: Legislative Department

Legislative Department acts mainly as a service provider in so far as the legislative business of the Union Government is concerned.  It ensures timely processing of legislative proposals of various Ministries/Departments.  In this context, Legislative Department plays an important role in assisting the Ministries/Departments of the Government to achieve the policy objectives through legislation.

Remember This

Legislative Department does not have any statutory or autonomous body under its control.

Besides the main Secretariat, Legislative Department has two wings under it, namely, the Official Languages Wing and Vidhi Sahitya Prakashan, which are responsible for translation of Bills, Ordinances, Rules, Regulations in Hindi; and propagation of Hindi and other Official Languages in the field of law Legislative Department provides assistance to State Governments in translation of Central Laws into the languages mention in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.

Year End Review 2020

The Year End Review sheds light on various initiatives, Programmes, schemes and achievements of Legislative Department for the period from January 2020 to October/November 2020.

Important Tasks Undertaken by the Department

During the period from 1st January, 2020 to November, 2020 this Department has examined 41 legislative proposals.  During this period, 40 Bills were sent to the Parliament for introduction.

Election Laws and Electoral Reforms

The Acts in connection with the conduct of elections to Parliament, state legislatures and to the offices of the President and the Vice-President are:

(i) The Representation of the People Act, 1950;

(ii) The Representation of the People Act, 1951; 

(iii) The Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952;

(iv) The Delimitation Act, 2002;

(v) The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council Act, 2005; and

(vi) The Tamil Nadu Legislative Council Act, 2010.

The Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India [also known as anti-defection Law] and the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 also deal with the respective issues relating to the elected representative in the Parliament and the State Legislatures.

These are administrated by the Legislative Department, Ministry of Law and Justice.

Delimitation of Constituencies

The first Delimitation Commission in India was constituted in 1952, the second in1962, the third in 1973 and the fourth in the year 2002.

The third delimitation exercise— based on 1971 census—was completed in the year1975.Thepresentdelimitation, as carried out in fourth delimitation exercise based on 2001 census.

Delimitation of Constituencies in UT of Jammu and Kashmir and certain States in North-East India

                        After the enactment of Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Act, 2019 the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir has been bifurcated into two Union territories, viz. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with Legislative Assembly and the Union Territory of Ladakh without Legislative Assembly. 

In terms of special provision as contemplated in Section 62 of said 2019-Act the readjustment of the constituencies in the successor Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir into Assembly Constituencies shall be carried out on the basis of 2011-census figures by a Delimitation Commission to be constituted under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002 as amended by said 2019-Act.     

Therefore, in pursuance of the mandate as contained in said 2019-Act and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 the Centre Government has constituted a Delimitation Commission vide notification published in the Gazette of India on 06th March, 2020 for the purpose of delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland. 

Reservation of Seats for Women

            There has been a consistent demand for giving adequate representation to women in Parliament and State Legislatures.  Gender Justice is an important commitment of the Government and the issue involved, however, needs careful consideration on the basis of the consensus among all political parties before taking any legislative action for amending the Constitution to make appropriate provisions.

Reservation of Seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes

Our Constitution makers were fully conscious of the fact that the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes had been an oppressed and under-privileged class in our society over the centuries and they deserved a special dispensation so that their condition may be vastly improved.

  • For this purpose, several special provisions were incorporated in our Constitution.
  • One such provision related to the reservation of seats for these communities in Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.
  • This provision found place in articles 330 and 332 of the Constitution.
  • Initially, the aforesaid provisions were made only for a period of ten years from the commencement of the Constitution. 
  • Several steps have been initiated by the Government from time to time for improving the socio economic status of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, yet they are still far behind other communities.
  • Even in the political field, they are not yet able to come up and get themselves elected to the representative bodies on their own in adequate numbers. 
  • Although the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have made considerable progress in the last 70 years, the reasons which weighed with the Constituent Assembly in making provisions with regard to the aforesaid reservation of seats have not yet ceased to exist. 
  • Consequently, the provision initially made for a period of ten years has been extended from time to time. 
  • Therefore, with a view to retaining the inclusive character as envisioned by the founding fathers of the Constitution, it was considered necessary by the Government to continue the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes for another ten years i.e. up to 25th January, 2030. 
  • The Government introduced the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2019 before the Parliament thereby provisioning for extension of the period for a further ten years and the same was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and received the assent of the President in January, 2020.
  • The said Bill was enacted as the Constitution (One Hundred and Fourth) Act, 2020.