As vacancies in 22nd Law Commission continue for 22 months, Centre gives evasive reply to the SC, calls PIL petition frivolous

New Delhi, Dec 8 (PTI) The Ministry of Law and Justice has told the Supreme Court that there is no proposal under consideration to make the Law Commission a statutory body.
The submission has been made in response to a plea filed by lawyer Ashwani Upadhyay seeking direction to the Centre to declare the Law Commission a “statutory body” and appoint the panel’s chairperson and members.
The Ministry submitted that the petition filed by Upadhyay is frivolous and not maintainable, being devoid of merits.
The petitioner has not come with clean hands and has raised an issue which clearly falls out of the doctrine of separation of power and the government is presently seized of the matter regarding the appointment of Chairperson and Members of the Law Commission, the ministry said in an affidavit filed in the top court.
“It is submitted that the 22nd Law Commission was constituted on February 21, 2020, and the appointment of Chairperson and Member is under consideration with concerned authorities. However, no proposal is under consideration to make the Law Commission a statutory body,” it said.
The Supreme Court had earlier issued notice to the Centre on the plea of Upadhyay, who made the ministries of Home Affairs and Law and Justice as well as the Law Commission  as respondents.
The plea had said the cause of action arose on August 31, 2018, and continued till the tenure of the 21st Law Commission ended. But the Centre has neither extended the tenure of the Law Commission’s Chairperson and Members nor notified the 22nd Law Commission.
“Although, on February 19, 2020, Centre approved the constitution of the Twenty-second Law Commission it has not appointed the Chairperson and Members till date,” Upadhyay had said in the petition filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey.
The plea, which sought a direction to the Centre to appoint the Chairperson and Members to the 22nd law panel, had also made an alternative prayer urging the Supreme Court to do the needful.
“Alternatively, being the custodian of the Constitution and protector of fundamental rights, the Court may be pleased to use its plenary constitutional power to appoint the Chairperson and Members of the Twenty-Second Law Commission of India and declare that the Law Commission of India is a statutory body,” it had said.
The petitioner had sought direction to the law panel, to be set up, to also consider his submission seeking action on the Vohra commission report on the alleged nexus between politicians and criminals.
The plea had said that since the Law Commission is not working, the Centre does not have the benefit of recommendations from this specialised body on the different aspects of law, which are entrusted to the Commission for its study and recommendations.
The Commission, on a reference made to it by the Centre, the Supreme Court, and High Courts, undertakes research in law and reviews existing laws for making reforms therein and enacting new legislations.