Search on for new chairman as government set to reconstitute 22nd Law panel

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New Delhi, Sep 21: The Law ministry has cleared proposal for reconstitution of the 22nd Law Commission and likely to send it for Cabinet approval in its meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
Sources said the Union cabinet is likely to approve the reconstitution of the next Law Commission immediately as several key issues under deliberation by the previous commission could not be completed as the tenure of the 21 st Law Commission came to an end last month.
The 21st Law Commission, which was headed by former judge of the Supreme Court Justice B S Chauhan, completed its three-year tenure on August 31. During its term, the previous Law Commission had taken up issues such as the Uniform Civil Code and simultaneous elections of assemblies and Parliament for discussion but could not finalise its recommendations before the term came to an end.
The reconstitution of the commission requires Cabinet approval but the appointment of its chairman and members is done later by an executive order. Sources say Justice Chauhan is one of the contenders to head the 22 nd Law Commission. If Justice Chauhan gets a second term, it will still be considered as fresh appointment as there is no provision for an extension with the constitution of a new commission.
Before his tenure came to an end, Justice Chauhan released a draft report on simultaneous elections to Parliament and assemblies in the form of “public appeal” and put across the commission’s findings in public domain.
The Commission made a strong pitch for simultaneous elections to Parliament and state assemblies and said that after examining all Constitutional and legal provisions, it has come to the conclusion that the time has come for holding simultaneous elections in the larger public interest.
On the much-awaited Uniform Civil Code, the Law Commission came out with a 185-page “Consultation paper” where it suggested wide ranging changes in various family laws bringing in gender justice and equality. The Commission was of the view that a uniform civil code is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage”.
The commission said it failed to evolve a consensus on a uniform civil code for the country after consultations with various stakeholders and thus felt that the best way forward was to preserve the diversity of personal laws at the same time ensure that they don’t contradict the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.