Repeal and re-enactment of a law

Principles for repeal and re-enactment of a law:

If the legislative intent to supersede the earlier law is the basis upon which the doctrine of implied repeal is founded could there be any incongruity in attributing to the later legislation the same intent which Section 6 presumes where the word ‘repeal’ is expressly used. So far as statutory construction is concerned, it is one of the cardinal principles of the law that there is no distinction or difference between an express provision and a provision which is necessarily implied, for it is only the form that differs in the two cases and there is no difference in intention or in substance. A repeal may be brought about by repugnant legislation, without even any reference to the Act intended to be repealed, for once legislative competence to effect a repeal is posited, it matters little whether this is done expressly or inferentially or by the enactment of repugnant legislation. If such is the basis upon which repeals and implied repeals are brought about it appears to us to be both logical as well as in accordance with the principles upon which the rule as to implied repeal rests to attribute to that legislature which effects a repeal by necessary implication the same intention as that which would attend the case of an express repeal. Where an intention to effect a repeal is attributed to a legislature then the same would, in our opinion, attract the incident of the saving found in Section 6 for the rules of construction embodied in the General Clauses Act are, so to speak, the basic assumptions on which statutes are drafted.

[Source: State of Orissa v. M.A. Tulloch & Co., (1964) 4 SCR 461]

The Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 is both repealing and re-enacting the law relating to prevention of corruption to which the provisions of Section 24 of the General Clauses Act are specifically applicable. It appears that as Section 6 of the General Clauses Act applies to repealed enactments, the legislature in its wisdom thought it proper to make the same specifically applicable in the 1988 Act also which is a repealing and re-enacted statute. Reference to Section 6 of the General Clauses Act in sub-section (1) of Section 30 has been made to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding regarding the effect of repeal with regard to actions taken under the repealed Act. If the legislature had intended not to apply the provisions of Section 24 of the General Clauses Act to the 1988 Act, it would have specifically so provided under the enacted law. In the light of the fact that Section 24 of the General Clauses Act is specifically applicable to the repealing and re-enacting statute, its exclusion has to be specific and cannot be inferred by twisting the language of the enactments. Accepting the contention of the learned counsel for the respondents would render the provisions of the 1988 Act redundant inasmuch as appointments, notifications, orders, schemes, rules, bye-laws made or issued under the repealed Act would be deemed to be non-existent making impossible the working of the re-enacted law impossible. The provisions of the 1988 Act are required to be understood and interpreted in the light of the provisions of the General Clauses Act including Sections 6 and 24 thereof.

Unlike Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, which saves certain rights, Section 24 merely continues notifications, orders, schemes, rules etc. that are made under a Central Act which is repealed and re-enacted with or without modification. The idea of Section 24 of the General Clauses Act is, as its marginal note shows, to continue uninterrupted subordinate legislation that may be made under a Central Act that is repealed and re- enacted with or without modification.

[Source: Fibre Boards (P) Ltd  vs Cit Bangalore decided by Supreme Court on 11 August, 2015]

It is important to note that a temporary statute does not attract the provision of Section 6 of the General Clauses Act only for the reason that the said statute expires by itself after the period for which it has been promulgated ends. In such cases, there is no repeal for the reason that the legislature has not applied its mind to a live statute and obliterated it. In all cases where a temporary statute expires, the statute expires of its own force without being obliterated by a subsequent legislative enactment. But even in this area, if a temporary statute is in fact repealed at a point of time earlier than its expiry, it has been held that Section 6 of the General Clauses Act would apply. –

[Source: State of Punjab v. Mohar Singh, (1955) 1 SCR 893 at page 898]

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