Reprising the titular character of a cyborg from the future in the 2015 Hollywood franchise film Terminator Genisys, Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered the catchphrase Im old, but Im not obsolete.
The same cant be said for hundreds of archaic laws that survived for years like relics in a museum but with no relevance in modern India.
And the Narendra Modi government is terminating them at record speed to fulfill a poll promise. If things go according to plan, the government would have removed nearly 3,500 old, redundant, archaic and bizarre laws from the statute books by the end of its five-year term.
While successive governments could remove just 1,301 obsolete laws which came in the way of smooth administration and economic growth in 66 years, the present central government has managed to weed out as many as 1,500 Acts in just three years.
As many as 2,000 more obsolete central Acts not consonant with the times have also been identified for quick termination with useful assistance from the Law Commission, sources said.
Sample this: under the Indian Motor Vehicles Act 1914, an inspector should have had wellbrushed teeth, and would have been disqualified if he or she had a pigeon chest, knock knees, flatfeet or hammer toes.
Many such laws have already been chopped or are set to be scrapped as they were putting up obstacles to running smooth administration and ease of doing business. The law ministry points out that many old and irrelevant pre-Independence laws were the unfortunate part of the colonial legacy and repealing them is a progressive move that reflects the proreform approach of the government.
“The Modi government is determined to relegate several archaic Acts to history. Laws need to be consonant with the times, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said this year. The act of repealing redundant laws is as important as making new laws if the law books are old, irrelevant and behind time. It confuses those who are governed by it; as law grants no excuse to those who are ignorant of it.
It is imperative that that the law books are updated to maintain its relevance, says the ministry. The Modi government had made it clear at its inception that it was time for these laws to be repealed. Among the myriad laws in India, there are those that made strange demands.
A centuryold one said the toll tax for boats ferrying passengers across the river Ganga could not be more than two annas a denomination not in use any more. The Opposition-dominated Upper House too played its part when it passed five bills concerning repealing of 1,159 central laws.
Before this, under the Indian Aircraft Act, 1934, kites were also aircraft and one needed to obtain a permit as required for flying a plane.
During the 2014 election campaign, Modi promised that if the BJP came to power, for every law passed, his government would repeal 10 obsolete ones.