The legislative department, under the ministry of law and justice, is developing a website called India Code, which will contain all laws enacted in India.
According to the website, which is already up and running, India Code is a database of all central enactments that are in force and their subordinate legislations, made from time to time.
“With the help of this system, retrieving of any Central Act and its relevant subordinate legislation of one’s interest in an up-to-date form has been simplified and made extremely user-friendly and accessible at push of few buttons,” says the India code website.
The task is being monitored by the Cabinet Secretariat, ET reported.
India Code: A Database Of All Central Laws
It all started in 2012, when Vansh Sharad Gupta, then a law student of National Law School of India, Bengaluru, filed a complaint with the Central Information Commission (CIC).
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Being a law student, Gupta wanted to study the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1972. However, he could not find the Act anywhere on central government websites (the Act was available only in the form of the bare Act, which contains several inconsistencies).
Upon hearing the matter, the CIC, in 2015, directed the legislative department — the respondent in this case — to take necessary action and inform the CIC about the same including details of the programme of updates, the possible date of its completion, the expenditure involved, personnel employed, etc. The Commission also imposed a fine of $138 (INR 10,000) on the legislative department for not having a proper system in place to address RTI queries.
However, interestingly, the legislative department, instead of addressing the Commission’s recommendations, challenged it in the Delhi High Court. After a series of hearings, which went in favour of Gupta, the Delhi High Court monitored the establishment of the India Code website.
Below are the criteria on which the India Code has been established:
- All central Acts and subordinate legislations passed by the Centre, including rules, regulations, notifications and circulars, should be made available on this portal
- The data uploaded on the portal should be available in a machine-readable PDF format
- The navigation of this website should be such that the complete law-making chain, right from the parent act to the subordinate legislation, is clearly visible
- The website should allow uploading of state government Acts, rules, regulations and subordinate legislations as well
- The portal must be mobile-viewing friendly
- All ministries and departments must have a nodal officer for this exercise
Once all the laws are updated on the website, people will no longer have to rely on private, print or web resources to read the laws that govern them. All of them will be easily accessible and available on www.indiacode.nic.in.
Update: 4.30pm, September 27, 2018 — This article was updated in line with Vansh Sharad Gupta’s comment below. We regret the errors. The headline was also changed.