Rajya Sabha panel pulls up Union government for delay in framing rules for Acts passed by the Parliament

The Hindu, December 17, 2023

The Subordinate Legislation Committee of Rajya Sabha, headed by BJP MP Laxmikant Bajpayee, has pulled up the Union government for the delay in framing of rules/regulations for the Acts passed by Parliament. The panel said in a report submitted recently in the Upper House that it has become a recurring phenomenon for the Union Ministries to delay the framing of rules.

Framing rules, a duty of the Executive, is supposed be done within six months of passing the Act, and the government must table the rules of an Act in Parliament. The Committee also noted with concern that the Ministries deal with the framing of rules/regulations in a very casual manner, and no serious effort was made to complete the exercise within the time limit.

The mandate of the Subordinate Legislation Committee is to scrutinise and report to the Rajya Sabha whether the delegated powers to make Rules, Regulations, Bye-laws, Schemes and other statutory instruments, given to the Executive by the Parliament, is being properly exercised. “However, the Committee noticed that despite the time limit prescribed for completion of framing of subordinate legislation and the several observations and recommendations of the Committee on the matter, various Acts are still pending since many years in various Ministries,” Mr. Bajpayee said in the report.

On the National Food Security Act of 2013, the report said even after the Act came into force about ten years ago, the Rule-making process had been stuck up, especially on the part of State Governments. “Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand are yet to complete the process. The Committee recommends to the Nodal Ministry to pursue the matter with the State Governments for a speedy completion of the actions,” the panel said.

Similarly, on the rules of Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, the panel said four years had lapsed without any progress when so much importance was being given to Ease of Doing Business in India, which could adversely affect the confidence in the international business community that may like to invest in the country. On the delay in framing the rules of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) Act, 2006, the panel expressed dismay and concern over the pace at which the Petroleum Ministry was working on framing the rules.

Pulling up the Department of Higher Education, it said subordinate legislations of the Sikkim University Act, 2006; the Tripura University Act, 2006; the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University Act, 2007; and the Central University Act, 2009 have not been tabled yet.

On the rules of the Wakf Act, 2013, the panel feared that the State governments were delaying the process of framing of subordinate legislations and this might have caused delay in reaching the benefits to the eligible persons. “The Committee feels that the delay in framing the Rules/Regulations defeats the very purpose of enactment of the Acts as the Acts cannot be operated in the absence of the Rules/Regulations,” the panel noted, while asking the Union AYUSH Ministry to take all the steps to complete the framing of subordinate legislations under the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Act, 2020; the National Commission for Homoeopathy Act, 2020; and the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Act, 2020.

“The Committee has found that the Ministries have taken considerable time in framing of the rules/regulations and therefore the Acts remain unimplemented or partially implemented,” the report said, and cited its 1971 report that said if the rules were not framed within six months, the Secretary should inform the Minister concerned and obtain his orders.

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