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100 Important Statutes one must Know as a citizen of India considering the fact we have laws in the form of statutes that have directly or indirectly affected each and every one of us. Our legislator that is Parliament has framed law on almost each and every sector be it a crime, civil, environment, finance, personal laws, citizenship, tax and whatnot. In this article we will try to list out such 100 must know statutes for you.
List of Statutes
- The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016
- The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
- The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958
- The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
- The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958
- The Arms Act, 1959
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
- The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976
- The Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016
- The Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003
- The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003
- The Citizenship Act, 1955
- The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
- The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
- The Code on Wages, 2019
- The Coinage Act, 2011
- The Companies Act, 2013
- The Competition Act, 2002
- The Comptroller Auditor-General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971
- The Consumer Protection Act, 2019
- The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971
- The Copyright Act, 1957
- The Disaster Management Act, 2005
- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
- The Environment Protection Act, 1986
- The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897
- The Essential Commodities Act, 1955
- The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003
- The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
- The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010
- The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999
- The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018
- The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
- The Goods and Services Tax Legislation, 2017
- The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008
- The Income Tax Act, 1961
- The Indian Evidence Act, 1872
- The Indian Forest Act, 1927
- The Indian Penal Code, 1860
- The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
- The Information Technology Act, 2000
- The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016
- The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
- The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005
- The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
- The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017
- The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
- The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
- The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986
- The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019
- The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
- The National Food Security Act, 2013
- The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
- The National Investigation Agency Act, 2008
- The National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014
- The National Security Act, 1980
- The Northeastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971
- The Official Secrets Act, 1923
- The Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959
- The Patents Act, 1970
- The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
- The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
- The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971
- The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
- The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
- The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001
- The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
- The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996
- The Repealing and Amending Act, 2017
- The Representation of the People Act, 1950
- The Representation of the People Act, 1951
- The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934
- The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009
- The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
- The Right to Information Act, 2005
- The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016
- The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
- The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
- The Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992
- The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interests (SARFAESI) Act, 2002
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
- The Special Marriage Act, 1954
- The States Reorganisation Act, 1956
- The Telegraph Act, 1885
- The Trade Marks Act, 1999
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019
- The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
- The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
- The Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2014
- The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
- Works of Defence Act, 1903
- Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958
- Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005
- Wakf Act, 1995
1. The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016
The Aadhaar Act was actually introduced as a money bill in the Parliament of India. It aims to provide legal backing to the Aadhaar unique identification number project. It was passed on 11 March 2016 by the Lok Sabha. It was enacted to provide good governance and an efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services of the expenditure which is actually incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India to citizens through assigning of unique identity numbers.
2. The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985
The establishes Administrative Tribunals in furtherance to Article 323 A of the Constitution. It adjudicates disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to the public service and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union and the States. The Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 provides for three types of tribunals:
- The Central Government establishes an administrative tribunal called the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
- The Central Government may, upon receipt of a request in this behalf from any State Government, establish an administrative tribunal for such State employees.
- Two or more States might ask for a joint tribunal, which is called the Joint Administrative Tribunal (JAT), which exercises powers of the administrative tribunals for such States.
3. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
The Act was a law passed by the Parliament of India to prevent and control the harmful effects of air pollution in India. This act is seen as the first concrete step taken by the government of India to combat air pollution. Section 2(a) defines an ‘air pollutants’ as any solid liquid or gaseous substance which may cause harm or damage the environment, humans, plants, animals or even damage property. A 1987 amendment to the act also added ‘noise’ in the list of harmful substances. The air act defines ‘air pollution’ as the presence of any dangerous pollutant that makes the air unbreathable.
4. The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958
The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 18, 2017, by the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dr. Mahesh Sharma. The Bill amends the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
The Act defines a ‘prohibited area’ as an area of 100 meters around a protected monument or area. The central government can extend the prohibited area beyond 100 meters. The Act does not permit construction in such prohibited areas, except under certain conditions. The Act also prohibits construction in ‘prohibited areas’ even if it is for public purposes.
The Act also introduces a definition for ‘public works’, which includes the construction of any infrastructure that is financed and carried out by the central government for public purposes. This infrastructure must be necessary for public safety and security and must be based on a specific instance of danger to public safety. Also, there should be no reasonable alternative to carrying out construction in the prohibited area.
5. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
The Act was enacted in order to minimise the supervisory role of the courts in settlement of disputes. The Act permits an arbitral tribunal to use mediation, conciliation or other procedures during arbitral proceedings in order to encourage the settlement of disputes. Recent amendments were made to the bill which led to some significant changes, such as time-bound arbitration, widening the powers of the arbitral tribunal, settling the judicial vulgarities under Section 34 of the Act, etc. Two new sections namely 29A and 29B—have been added, which provide for time limit for arbitral award and fast-track procedure, respectively.
Section 29A provides a time limit of 12 months plus six months (total of 18 months) within which the arbitral award should be made, failing which the mandate of the arbitrator should be terminated.
Another section provides the parties to the arbitration agreement may opt for the fast-track procedure wherein the award has to be made within six months of the reference to the arbitrators. The appeal against the arbitral award is restricted to grounds mentioned under Section 34 of the Act, wherein the recourse to a court against an award is limited to the extent provided for under the section itself.
6. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958
The Act was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and it was approved by the President on September 11, 1958. It became known as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958.
The Act came into force in the context of increasing violence in the North-eastern States decades ago, which the State governments found difficult to control. AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law. If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
7. The Arms Act, 1959
The Act governs matters related to acquisition, possession, manufacture, sale, transportation, import and export of arms and ammunition. It defines a specific class of ‘prohibited’ arms and ammunition, restricts their use and prescribes penalties for contravention of its provisions.
Section 7 of the Act forbids the manufacture, sale, and use of prohibited arms and ammunition unless it has been specially authorized by the central government. Section 27(3) prescribes that any contravention of Section 7 that results in the death of any person ‘shall be punishable with death.’
8. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
The Act was passed by the parliament of India to protect biodiversity and facilitate the sustainable management of biological resources with the local communities. The Act was enacted to meet the requirements stipulated by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which India is a party.
Its main objective is to ensure the conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair usage of its resources in order to prevent overuse or eventual destruction of biodiversity. Since India is one of the most biologically diverse nations in the world, this act is a necessity to protect its biological heritage.
9. The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976
The Act even though enacted by the Parliament of India and extends to the whole of India but is implemented by respective state governments. It provides for an institutional mechanism at the district level in the form of Vigilance Committees. Vigilance committees advise District Magistrate (DM) to ensure the provisions of this act are properly implemented. The State Governments/UTs may confer, on an Executive Magistrate, the powers of a Judicial Magistrate of the first class or second class for the trial of offences under this Act.
Government of India has introduced a revamped Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers- 2016, under which financial assistance to the tune of Rs.1.00 (one) lakh, Rs.2.00 (two) lakhs & Rs. 3.00 (three) lakhs are provided to released bonded labourers based on their category and level of exploitation along with other non-cash assistance for their livelihood.
10. The Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016
The Act establishes the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the National Standards Body of India. The Act allows multiple types of simplified conformity assessment schemes including self-declaration of conformity. It provides enabling provisions for making hallmarking of precious metal articles mandatory.
The Act enables the Central Government to appoint any authority/agency, in addition to the BIS, to verify the conformity of products and services with the established standard and issue certificate of conformity. There is a provision for repair or recall, of the products (bearing Standard Mark) that do not conform to the relevant Indian Standard.
11. The Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003
The Act conferred statutory status to the already established Central Vigilance Commission which was set up by the Government in February 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam. Central Vigilance Commission is the apex vigilance institution, free of control from any executive authority, monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government and advising various authorities in Central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.
It is an agency constituted to curb corruption in offices of the Indian government. Complaints from whistleblowers (an employee of the firm/public office informing the public about frauds/wrongdoings in the office) under ‘Whistleblower Resolution’ are received by CVC after which the commission can take actions on motivated acts.
12. The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003
The Act prohibits the advertisement of, and to provide for the regulation of trade and commerce in, and production, supply and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products in India. It gives effect to the Resolution passed by the 39th World Health Assembly, urging the member states to implement measures to provide non-smokers protection from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke. The Act prohibits smoking of tobacco in public places, except in special smoking zones in hotels, restaurants and airports and open spaces. It also prohibits selling such tobacco to minor or advertising it.
13. The Citizenship Act, 1955
The Act provides various ways in which citizenship of India may be acquired. It provides for citizenship by birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and by incorporation of the territory into India. In addition, it regulates the registration of Overseas Citizen of India Cardholders (OCIs) and their rights. An OCI is entitled to some benefits such as a multiple-entry, multipurpose lifelong visa to visit India.
It was recently in news since an illegal migrant is prohibited from acquiring Indian citizenship. An illegal immigrant is a foreigner who either enters India illegally, i.e., without valid travel documents, like a visa and passport, or enters India legally, but stays beyond the time period permitted in their travel documents. An illegal migrant can be prosecuted in India and deported or imprisoned.
In September 2015 and July 2016, the government exempted certain groups of illegal migrants from being imprisoned or deported. These are illegal migrants who came into India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Pakistan on or before December 31, 2014, and belong to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, or Christian religious communities.
14. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
The Code was first enacted in the year 1859. The Code was thereafter, amended several times in the years, 1860, 1861, 1878, 1879, and 1882. After facing these many amendments, finally, the Code of Civil Procedure was re-enacted in the year 1908, and it came in force with effect from 1 January 1909. It further underwent a revamp by virtue of a major amendment in the year 1976.
The CPC not only defines and amends but also consolidates the law of the civil procedure. The main aim of the CPC is to facilitate justice, it has been rightly observed that procedural law is always subservient to and is in aid of Justice. The Code of Civil Procedure is a complete code in itself consisting of Sections 1 to 158 in the first part and Orders I to LI with Appendices to the first schedule and Forms in the second part.
15. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
The Code is the primary legislation regarding the procedural aspects of criminal law. It also contains certain provisions that are not strictly procedural in nature which include provisions pertaining to the prevention of nuisance (Section 133) and Maintenance of Wife and Children (Sections 125-128). The Code contains 484 sections spread along 37 chapters, along with 2 schedules and 56 forms. It contains provision regarding investigation, arrest, trial, bail etc.
16. The Code on Wages, 2019
The Code (referred to as Wage Code), consolidates provisions of four labour laws concerning wages and bonuses, while allowing for timely payment of wages for workers in India. After undergoing many changes and amendments in the Parliament of India, the Code will come into effect on April 1st, 2021. The Code will subsume four laws which are Minimum Wages Act, Payment of Wages Act, Payment of Bonus Act and Equal Remuneration Act.
17. The Coinage Act, 2011
An Act consolidates the laws relating to coinage and the Mining of currency, the protection of coinage and to provide for the prohibition of melting or destruction of coins and prohibit the making or the possession thereof for issue and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
18. The Companies Act, 2013
The Act regulates the formation and functioning of corporations or companies in India. The first Companies Act after independence was passed in 1956, which governed business entities in the country. The 1956 Act was based on the recommendations of the Bhabha Committee. This Act was amended multiple times, and in 2013, major changes were introduced. By Section 135 of the 2013 Act, India became the first country to make corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending mandatory by law under this Act.
19. The Competition Act, 2002
The Act, passed in 2002 has been amended time to time which prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and merger and acquisition), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
In accordance with the provisions of the Amendment Act, the Competition Commission of India and the Competition Appellate Tribunal have been established. The government replaced Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in 2017.
20. The Comptroller Auditor-General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971
The Act lays down the duties, power, function and condition of service for the CAG of India. The Act was passed in furtherance to Articles 148, 149, 150 and 151 of the Constitution of India which briefly describe the functions and powers of CAG office.
21. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019
The new Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force on 20th July 2020 and replaces the old Act 1986. It empowers consumers and helps them in protecting their rights through its various notified rules and provisions. This new Act will be swift and less time consuming compared to the older Consumer Protection Act, 1986 in which single-point access to justice was given making it a time-consuming exercise.
The old act provided for a three-tier consumer dispute redressal machinery at the National (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission), State and District levels. This new Act establishes the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA).
22. The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971
This Act stems its power from the Constitution of India under which Article 129 grants Supreme Court the power to punish for contempt of itself, Article 142(2) enables the Supreme Court to investigate and punish any person for its contempt and Article 215 grants every High Court the power to punish for contempt of itself. However, the expression ‘contempt of court’ has not been defined by the Constitution. The Act refers the Contempt to the offence of showing disrespect to the dignity or authority of a court. The Act divides contempt into both civil and criminal contempt.
23. The Copyright Act, 1957
The Act protects and provides the copyright to the creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and the producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings. The rights provided under Copyright law include the rights of reproduction of the work, communication of the work to the public, adaptation of the work and translation of the work.
24. The Disaster Management Act, 2005
The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has been enacted as the central Act to deal with the management of disasters. This act envisaged a three-tier Disaster Management structure in India at National, States and District levels. The Act establishes the National Disaster Management Authority, State Disaster Management Authority and National Executive Commission.
25. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
The Act strictly makes the dowry demands in wedding arrangements illegal. Furthermore, it stipulates that death of a woman within 7 years of her marriage by burns or bodily injury with evidence of cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relatives in connection with a demand for dowry is ‘dowry death’ and punishable with imprisonment for not less than 7 years.