Sunday, 20 June, 2021

A Handy Manual For Lawmakers


Mukti Rijal

The book introduced here is a precious gift by Basant Acharya and Yamuna Aryal at a time when there has been a growing need of such a material especially to guide the lawmakers at the federal, Pradesh and local level in the process and skills of law making. This reviewer is well aware of Basantajee's industriousness and thoroughness to search, collect and use the relevant documents and evidences to produce works of contemporary use and relevance. His previous comprehensive work on Mediation(Melmilap) has been well lauded and appreciated, and it has catered to the need of those who are eager to know about alternative dispute resolution especially mediation and practicing it both in the court and community.
Since previous work on mediation was more or less based on his professional experiences, expertise and practices enriched by ADR concepts and theories, this work offers an important blending of both theoretical knowledge and practices tips and guidelines on legislative drafting. The work has seven chapters dealing with rule of law, theoretical aspects of legislative drafting, state authorities mandated to work for law making, role of drafter in legislative drafting, provisions relating to bills, delegated legislation and lawmaking process. While emphasizing the importance of the rule of law and many other dimensions of law and lawmaking , this work draws from several authorities including internationally recognized writers like Dicey, Hans Kelsen, prominent Nepalese authors and relevant. judicial precedents.
There is no denying the fact that laws or legal system underpin our society as they protect our rights, impose duties on each of us and establish a framework for the conduct of every social, political and economic activity. The punishment of crime, compensation of the injured and the enforcement of contracts are some of the tasks of a modern legal system. It also strives to achieve justice, promote freedom and protect our security. By setting the standards of conduct, the law remains the most powerful tool of the state to change our behavior.
The book highlights the indicators of good laws including impartiality, usefulness, enforceability, preciseness, effectiveness and ownership. Similarly, it also discusses at length the process of legislative cycle comprising the initiating, proposing, drafting, enacting, implementing, reviewing and revising. In the same way, the work elaborates the major principles of legal drafting namely audience, subject matter, clarity, chronological order, judicial logic and so on. Chapter three and four of the book discuss about the lawmaking authorities like legislature, judiciary, executive, constitutional bodies, administrative entities and their role while chapter four explains in detail the role of drafter in legislative drafting.
The drafter is assumed to perform the role of facilitator, analysts, specialist, expert, mediator and so on. The drafter needs to keep in mind the supremacy of constitution, abide by the hierarchy of law, to follow legal principles or orders laid by supreme court, take into account the treaties or agreements, consider international law and human rights, be conversant with socio-cultural solidarity, tolerance and harmony and identify stakeholders' interests.
The chapter five of the book discusses elaborately about the provision relating to legislative bills. Bill is a form or draft of a proposed statute presented to a legislature, but not yet enacted or passed and made law. The bills have different categories based on their subject matter, nature and structure. The government bill such as money bill, appropriation bill, ordinary bill, private bill, independent bill, dependent bill, integrated bill are some of its examples. The chapter also talks about the structure of the bill including section, subsections, clause, sub-clause, proviso, explanation, exception and so on.
Chapter six focuses on delegated legislation that is made by body to whom parliament has delegated its lawmaking power. Types of delegated legislations include rules and regulations, bylaws, orders and directives. Chapter seven deals with lawmaking process in federal, provincial and local parliament. The most significant value of this chapter lies in the fact that it discusses at length the lawmaking process particularly at Pradesh parliament and local parliament. In the case of federal parliament several instruments exist to inform and educate about the lawmaking process whereas no such materials are available in the case of lawmaking process at the Pradesh and local parliament. Though the book will be useful for lawmakers at all levels, it will be more helpful especially for the subnational and local lawmakers as no proper guidelines and materials exist to support them in the process of democratic lawmaking.