In modern state the enactment of legislation is primarily a function of the government. Government can not conduct policies of the state in any meaningful sense without the capacity to govern. The executive in essence constitutes source of legislation. Strictly speaking, Legislative Drafting is the drafting of measures intended to become past of statute law. However, it includes the drafting of statutory orders, rules and other institutions issued by departments of the government as well as the drafting of by law of corporations and other firms of sub-ordinate legislation.
At present scenario, introduction of bill is daunting task for an individual Member of Parliament. Serious exercise and sincerity requires for preparation of any draft bill to introduce in the house. Such Member of Parliament must be acquainted with all the pros and cons of the proposed bill, each and every provisions of the bill must be elaborately discussed in the format. Hence, from above discussion what can be summarized is that in the orchestra of law, it is legislation that plays the role of the composer. Legislation sets the music, one may regulate the pitch soften the tone, or choice his octave but can not change the melody.
Concept of Legislative Drafting
Legislative Drafting is even sometime compared or linked to a child’s game of Snakes and Ladders. Snakes and Ladders are game of chance whereas Legislative Drafting is game of skill. We started Legislative Drafting from sheer necessity. Due to the welfarishic philosophy in the governing systems of the country, the state activism led every aspect of human life. The state has to run with those need of the people, it has to carry functions to maintain peace and order, it has to protect weaker section of the society, it has to undertake trade and commerce, it has to run different system, security, health, education etc. All the functions of the state become possible only by making law that is why legislation is necessary in every aspect of human life.
We perceive legislation as source of law that part of law. The term legislation may be used in the wider and narrow sense, which though connected are different. It may connote process of legislation that is the action, which results in the birth of law, or it may signify the result itself, that the law that is born, and Legislative Drafting is moreover concerned with the first sense that with the second.
understanding of problems will help in finding the problem will help in finding the solution but what should bear in mind is drafting is attempt to solve existing problem not like a acute and precise mathematical formula, which brings 100 % result. Moreover, Legislative Drafting is not always imitating one another and there is usually nothing absolutes new in a statute if in case law, the courts look to their own past decisions for the purpose of finding out a rule.
Legislative Drafting is both science and art. It is science in so far as certain rules can be laid universal application to all kinds of measures that come up for drafting and in so far as a certain set of rules are always observed by all drafts men for the purpose of securing method in their drafts.
It is, however, mainly an art; efficiency in drafting comes not by a mere mastery of the rules, by the exercise of a faculty of the mind, which can be described as skill or natural gift. The art of draftmanship consists of a sense of use of language; together with knowledge of the technical interpretations, which are placed by law in certain form of language. The sense of the use of language is the main qualification of a draftsman just as a good artist decides by instinct, the colour to be used for particular part of a picture or a good musician spontaneously fixes up the particular notes to which a part of a song should be set. Similarly, a good draftsman senses the word or group of words to be used to carry out the intended meaning.
Why a law is drafted
When any problems come before the legislatures or before the government, and it is also noticed that, the problem can not be effectively addressed without legislative mechanism or any other mode of address will not last longer to diminish the problem then only any new law or any amendment on existing law is drafted. Sometimes there may be constitutional compulsion that there should be legislation to address particular subjects.
Content of the Drafting
The content or let’s say the nature of drafting exclusively depends upon the nature and purpose for which the bills are to be drafted. For example, the bills for establishment of industry some how or in most of its content differs with bills for regulations of industrial work. Hence, a legislative drafting differs from the very nature, for which kit is to be drafted. Legislative drafting is an extremely onerous, exacting and highly ‘skill task. It is often appreciated that it is difficult task. It is not easy to express in words exactly what is clear in the mind and even if that can be easily expressed it is not easy to do so in such a way that there can be no misunderstanding. It is not a task for amateurs and dabblers. It is highly technical discipline, the most vigorous form of writing outside of mathematics.
A candidate for legislative drafting must have facility in the use of the language of legislative instruments. Experience in legal practice is desirable, so is an interest in drafting. As a systematic mind and an orderliness in the formulation of thoughts, the ability to pay meticulous attention to detail and the ability to work with accuracy under pressure. We can’t rule out the infallibility of human foresight and indeed of language itself, yet parliament must do the best they can to reduce doubt and ambiguity and to bring difficulties to a workable minimum by an intelligent application of knowledge to bear on their drafts. Here is some of the content of the legislative drafting, which is defined briefly.
- Long Title
- Short Title
- Section and Sub-Section
- Constitutions of Board of Executive Committee
- Qualification for Members of Executive Committee
- Disqualifications for Members of Executive Committee
- Term of Office of Executive Committee, Their resignation and Removal
- General Powers
- Particular Powers
- Constitutional Limitations
- Fundamental Rights
- Interpretation Section
- Repealing and Amending Provisions
- Referential Legislative
- Offences and Penalties
- Introduction in the house
- Long Title
Generally an act has always a long title, which indicates the nature of the legislative draft. It is a device to tell the members of Parliament what the bill is about and even helps to determine the scope of bill when it is being dealt in the Parliament. The title comprises the main theme, which is the pith and substance of the bill. The long title should not be vague and imprecise. It has to a large extent taken the place of preamble and therefore should cover the main theme of legislation.
- Short Title
The Short title is the convenient means of citing the act. It is the short name of the act. In the words of Lord Moulton “the short title is a statutory nickname to deviate the necessity of always referring to the act under its full and descriptive title. As the name explains should be short, should be designed with great care and concern for those, who have to use the act.
It is an attempt to state in precise terms the meaning of a word or of an expression. In legislation, it should be used only as an aid to clarify and to reduce vagueness as much as possible. It should be used when necessary and should be as simple as possible.
Section and Sub-Section
An act of Parliament is divided into Sections and Sub-Sections. A section should contain one idea and therefore one enactment. It should be self explanatory and should be self contained. It should be simple, short and lucid. There should be no ambiguity as to its meaning or be difficult to read. In case of the section turns out to be long one the section should be broken into Sub-Section, all the sub-section read together must form a coherent and consistent whole. They should deal with the same idea, the same subject matter.
The commencement clauses in the statute usually run as follows:-
- This Act shall come into force on ………………………………………………………….
- This Act shall come into force on such date as the ……………………………………
- The Act may be made to commence at once in which it comes into force as soon as the last formality for it passing is undergone, instead of commencement of the entire Act in the whole country on one date, it may be necessary to provide for what can be called as partial commencement. Commencement of Act may be partial in respect of parts of an Act, area, subjects, or one or more of these matters.
Constitutions for Board of Executive Committee
Constitution is a document different from an Act of Parliament. It is a body of framework of politics. It aspires all authority and strength, also limit upon their power and function. It is a law regarding their job, it covers several things like eligible members, qualification powers etc. being organic in nature its construction must be beneficial but it’s not a private contract. It is essential to remember that a constitution is a mechanism under which laws are made and not mere Act which declares what a law is to be.
Qualifications for Members of Executive Committee
Certain criteria are remarked by every Act so that it could assume that the assigned job to be done with full efficiency. The criteria or qualifications may be in example like:-
- should be at least graduate
- should be experience of drafting
- sound mentality
- knowledge of Constitutional Law
- thirty years of age
- excellent spoken and written Nepali and English
Disqualifications for Members of Executive Committee
Certain barriers are also pointed which disqualify to be a member of committee, for example
- Not a Nepali Citizen
- Criminal background
- Educational Qualification
Term if Office of Executive Committee
It specifies the tenure of the working session of the member, which is generally 5 years. It also must mention the provision of removal and regulations with ground for doing so.
There is found often in legislation power conferred on an authorized to make regulation for the better carrying into effect the purposes and principles of an Act. Power is almost inevitable to carry out the job assigned. There are, however, different aspects of conferring power like general and special powers, which are conferred as per the demand of situations.
Drafting of Legislation can never outgo from the spirit of constitution. There is certain limitation, which should be considered while drafting. An enactment is void from the begging if it is inconsistence with the constitution or in contravention of the constitution. A constitution brings into sharp focus the theory of Parliamentary and people sovereignty. While drafting legislation a good draftsman always consider.
Issues of fundamental rights: – either it is absolute or relative can it be seized or not, how does it safeguard people rights. Fundamental rights are as old as mankind does legislation respect this liberal idea or not etc.
Equality is perhaps the primary human rights. Fundamental rights are useless unless there is a right to equality.
Development issues: – how it ensures people’s participation.
It is now well established that an Act have an interpretation section. Definitions are used in legislation as an aid to clarify, to achieve consistency and as method of reducing vagueness. There is merit in having the interpretation section. At the outset a reader finds a list of terms with their meanings before coming across them later in the Act. The readers mind is prepared that there are certain words, which have specific meaning for the purpose of the Act. On the other hand one does not refer to the dictionary before reading a book thus interpretation is must in process of drafting legislation.
Repealing and Amending Provisions
Provisions, repealing or Amending Acts should be placed towards the end of the Act but before the commencement provision. It is a principle that a parliament can not fatter the hands of subsequent parliament, an Act passed in one session can be repealed by an Act passed in another session.
The corporation of the provision of the one Act into other is known as referential legislation, which can be useful or even necessary for example country law when gives signature to the International Conventions.
Introductions of Legislation
Introduction of legislation or bills in the house is the final task of the drafting. After introducing if the bill is not able to get majority the house it shall be again repealed or amended.
Legislative Drafting follows that good lawyer is not necessarily a good draftsman. Knowledge of law is intelligence, memory and judgment while drafting is skill and art. The good draftsman brings to bear upon his work the retentive and analytical faculty of his mind. It is not is should not ever be the matter of debate either legislative drafting is science or an art rather legislative drafting is always made for public good. The process of legislation is thus also a foundation for process of social change. This process of legislation involves changing the existing law where the existing law as perceived by government to longer serves a useful purpose. Thus, as far as the science pf government is concerned the important part of legislation is not only the regulatory aspect but the law making process itself that is the creative and dynamic aspect of government.
Hence, it is clear that legislative drafting is a very challenging job and directly concerned with the public life. It is worthwhile to have some knowledge on legislative drafting. Since the programme of Parliament depends upon legislative programme by government drafting has crucial role to play and promote individual’s rights.