No law is perfect
Ignorance of laws, or failure to understand them, is no immunity from them. Given this significant power the state has, it also has a duty to educate and make people aware of the law,nno matter how complex or nuanced.
Union home minister Amit Shah’s call that all legislation must be efficient, or else it can weaken the law itself, besides negatively impacting democracy, is a wonderful observation. It is much needed and long due. He also made a case for ensuring that there are few or no grey areas while legislating.
It is imperative that all lawmaking must focus on ensuring there is neither discretionary power, nor too much scope for subjective interpretation, while seeing that the product of the effort is equally available to all, in different languages, and is easy to read and understand.
After all, it would be most unfair to expect citizens to implement and comply with laws they do not really understand. Most laws, if not all, are heavy with legalese, just as all government decision drafting and communication is loaded with official jargon.
Mr Shah’s observation also emphasises the role of executive, which has to implement the laws. No law is perfect but objective lawmaking and simple drafting go a long way in making the legal framework more robust. Since most of the legal drafting is done by lawyers, with background inputs from officials, they have a huge interest in ensuring it is difficult to read and understand. This should end. And who better than Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government to wage a quick, successful war against drafting of unclear legislation?