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Ministry of Law and Justice (India): Wikis

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The Ministry of Law and Justice is a prominent Ministry of Government of India. Under the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules of 1961, the Ministry is vested with the responsibility of (i) administration of legal affairs, (ii) justice, and (iii) legislative affairs in India.

It is one of the oldest Ministries operating in India. Earlier, in terms of the Charter Act of 1833 enacted by the British Parliament, the Legislative power was vested in a single authority namely the Governor General of India. The Governor General enacted laws for the British India until 1920. The Government of India Act passed in 1919 vested the legislative power to the Indian Legislature constituted thereunder. Since then the Ministry of Law has been functioning as the sole repository of legal functions of the Government of India.

The Ministry is headed by a Cabinet Minister. Presently the Ministry is headed by Mr. Veerappa Moily. The longest serving minister of this ministry in the history of India was Ashoke Kumar Sen who is regarded as the patriarch of Indian law and justice.

Contents

Structure

The Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules of 1961 entail the various departments working under the Ministry of Law and Justice of Government of India. In terms of these Rules, the Ministry comprises the following departments; [1]

  1. Department of Legal Affairs,
  2. Legislative Department, and
  3. Department of Justice.
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Department of Legal Affairs

The Dept. of Legal affairs renders advice to various ministries on legal matters and attends to litigation on behalf of the Government of India in the Courts. The dept. also looks in to matters regarding the treaties with foreign government in matters of civil laws. It further concerns itself with the appointment of Law Officers of the Union of India, namely Attorney General, Solicitor General and Additional Solicitors General.

The Allocation of Business Rules identify the following functions to be carried out by this Department; [2]

  1. Advice to Ministries on legal matters including interpretation of the Constitution and the laws, conveyancing and engagement of counsel to appear on behalf of the Union of India in the High Courts and subordinate courts where the Union of India is a party.
  2. Attorney General of India, Solicitor General of India, and other Central Government law officers of the States whose services are shared by the Ministries of the Government of India.
  3. Conduct of cases in the Supreme Court and the High Courts on behalf of the Central Government and on behalf of the Governments of States participating in the Central Agency Scheme.
  4. Reciprocal arrangements with foreign countries for the service of summons in civil suits, for the execution of decrees of Civil Courts, for the enforcement of maintenance orders, and for the administration of the estates of foreigners dying in India intestate.
  5. Authorization of officers to execute contracts and assurances and of property on behalf of the President under Article 299(1) of the Constitution, and authorization of officers to sign and verify plaints or written statements in suits by or against the Central Government.
  6. Indian Legal Service.
  7. Treaties and agreements with foreign countries in matters of civil law.
  8. Law Commission of India
  9. Legal Profession including the Advocates Act, 1961 (25 of 1961) and persons entitled to practice before High Courts.
  10. Enlargement of the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and the conferring thereon of further powers; persons entitled to practice before the Supreme Court; references to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution of India.
  11. Administration of the Notaries Act, 1952 (53 of 1952).
  12. Income-tax Appellate Tribunal.
  13. Appellate Tribunal for Foreign Exchange.
  14. Legal aid to the poor.

Legislative Department

The Legislative Department is mainly concerned with drafting of all principal legislation for the Central Government i.e. Bills to be introduced in Parliament, Ordinances to be promulgated by the President, measures to be enacted as President's Acts for States under the President's rule and Regulations to be made by the President for Union territories. It is also concerned with election Laws namely the Representation of the People Act 1950 and the Representation of the People Act 1951. In addition it is also entrusted with task of dealing with certain matters relating to List III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution like personal law, contracts evidence etc. The responsibility of maintaining up to date the statutes enacted by Parliament is also with this Department. The Allocation of Business Rules identify the following functions to be carried out by this Department; [3]

  1. The drafting of Bills, including the business of the Draftsmen in Select Committees, drafting and promulgation of Ordinances and Regulations; enactment of State Acts as President's Acts whenever required; scrutiny of Statutory Rules and Orders (except notifications under clause (a) of section 3, section 3A and section 3D, of the National Highways Act, 1956 (48 of 1956).
  2. Constitution Orders; notifications for bringing into force Constitution (Amendment) Acts.
  3. (a) Publication of Central Acts, Ordinance and Regulations; (b) Publication of authorised translations in Hindi of Central Acts, Ordinances, Orders, Rules, Regulations and bye-laws referred to in section 5(1) of the Official Languages Act, 1963 (19 of 1963).
  4. Compilation and publication of unrepealed Central Acts, Ordinances and Regulations of general statutory Rules and Orders, and other similar publications.
  5. Elections to Parliament, to the Legislatures of States, to the Offices of the President and Vice-President; and the Election Commission.
  6. Preparation and publication of standard legal terminology for use, as far as possible, in all official languages.
  7. Preparation of authoritative texts in Hindi of all Central Acts and of Ordinances promulgated and Regulations made by the President and of all rules, regulations and orders made by the Central Government under such Acts, Ordinances and Regulations.
  8. Making arrangements for the translation into official languages of the States of Central Acts and of Ordinances promulgated and Regulations made by the President and for the translation of all State Acts and Ordinances into Hindi if the texts of such Acts or Ordinance are in a language other than Hindi.
  9. Publication of law books and law journals in Hindi.
  10. Marriage and divorce; infants and minors; adoption, wills; intestate and succession; joint family and partition.
  11. Transfer of property other than agricultural land (excluding benami transactions registration of deeds and documents).
  12. Contracts, but not including those relating to agricultural land.
  13. Actionable wrongs.
  14. Bankruptcy and insolvency.
  15. Trusts and trustees, Administrators, General and Official Trustees.
  16. Evidence and oaths.
  17. Civil Procedure including Limitation and Arbitration.
  18. Charitable and religious endowments and religious institutions.

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice performs the administrative functions in relation to the appointment of various judges at various courts in India, maintenance and revision of the conditions and rules of service of the judges and other related areas. The Allocation of Business Rules identify the following functions to be carried out by this Department; [4]

  1. Appointment, resignation and removal of the Chief Justice of India and Judges of the Supreme Court of India; their salaries, rights in respect of leave of absence (including leave allowances), pensions and travelling allowances.
  2. Appointment, resignation and removal, etc., of Chief Justice and Judges of High Courts in States; their salaries, rights in respect of leave of absence (including leave allowances), pensions and traveling allowances.
  3. Appointment of Judicial Commissioners and Judicial officers in Union Territories.
  4. Constitution and organisation (excluding jurisdiction and powers) of the Supreme Court (but including contempt of such Court) and the fees taken therein.
  5. Constitution and organisation of the High Courts and the Courts of Judicial Commissioners except provisions as to officers and servants of these courts.
  6. Administration of justice and constitution and organisation of courts in the Union Territories and fees taken in such courts.
  7. Court fees and Stamp duties in the Union Territories.
  8. Creation of all India Judicial Service.
  9. Conditions of service of District Judges and other Members of Higher Judicial Service of Union Territories.
  10. Extension of the Jurisdiction of a High Court to a Union Territory or exclusion of a Union Territory from the Jurisdiction of a High Court.

Law Ministers of India

See also

References


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