In a wonderful article (“Shall We Get Rid of the Lawyers?”) in the current issue of the New York Review of Books, Anthony Lewis reviews a new book Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law by Philip Howard. The review suggests that Howard’s book discusses, amongst other things, the excesses of American tort law and the manner in which law has found its away into every aspect of daily life creating overlegalization in a range of spheres. While Indian tort law still has much distance to travel before similar excesses can be alleged, reading Lewis’ review (and naturally the book!) does provide some interesting ancetodes through which we may be able to assess legalization in India in the years ahead.
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in india, i think we will have to start with too much criminal law (and strangely complicated procedural laws). most silly crimes (nuisance, obscenity etc) can be done away with and police and judicial resources better focussed on the serious ones. i think bibek debroy had a paper on a similar issue, can’t recall t inow.
Thanks for your comment Tarunabh. I completely agree. In fact, a radical overhaul of the present criminal laws is required – from removing unnecessary provisions, to a major update in the fines imposed for several crimes, to an urgent need for laws that respond to certain substantive crimes that Indian law inadequately addresses, for instance, sexual harassment.
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