Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday in Lok Sabha introduced Jan Vishwas Bill, which seeks to decriminalise minor offences by amending 183 provisions in 42 Acts with a view to promote ease of business.
The bill was later referred to a 31-member joint committee of Parliament for scrutiny.
It proposes to amend 183 provisions across 42 Acts administered by 19 ministries.
Introducing the bill, Goyal said that there are many laws in the country, under which punishment provisions are there for minor offences and for that people have to approach courts.
"We have to trust people. For minor mistakes, people should not be penalised. For minor offences, there should be a provision for paying fines," he said.
He added that the government has taken a series of measures to promote ease of doing business.
About 1,500 old laws have been repealed, 39,000 compliances have been simplified and about 3,500 norms were introduced to decriminalise offences, the minister said.
The proposed law, her said, "will also help in reducing the burden on judiciary".
The bill was introduced amid protests by the Opposition who were demanding a discussion on the border issue with China.
Besides the decriminalisation of minor offences, the bill envisages the rationalisation of monetary penalties, depending on the gravity of the offence, bolstering trust-based governance.
"Yet another novelty involved in the proposal is an increase of 10 per cent of the minimum amount of fine and penalty levied, after the expiry of every three years, once the bill becomes a law," according to the statement of objects and reasons.
It added that India needs to shed the baggage of antiquated laws that adversely affect developmental trajectory.
"The government is committed to make India the most preferred global investment destination by boosting investor confidence. The fear of imprisonment for minor offences is a major factor hampering the growth of the business ecosystem and individual confidence," it said.
Decriminalisation of large number of minor offences by replacing them with monetary penalties have been identified.
"Settlement of a large number of issues, by compounding method, adjudication and administrative mechanism, without involving courts, will enable persons to remedy minor contraventions and defaults, sometimes committed unknowingly by them, and save time, energy and resources," it said.
The Acts which are being amended include The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940; Public Debt Act, 1944; Pharmacy Act, 1948; Cinematograph Act, 1952; Copyright Act, 1957; Patents Act, 1970; Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; and Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The other laws include Trade Marks Act, 1999; Railways Act, 1989; Information Technology Act, 2000; Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002; Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006; Legal Metrology Act, 2009; and Factoring Regulation Act, 2011.
These 42 laws are administered by various Union ministries, including finance, food production and distribution, financial services, agriculture, commerce, environment, road transport and highways, posts, electronics and IT.
The members from the Lok Sabha include P P Chaudhary, Sanjay Jaiswal, Rajendra Agrawal, Poonam Pramod Mahajan, Gaurav Gogoi, A Raja and Sougata Ray. The names of 10 members from the Rajya Sabha will be announced later.
The committee will be required to submit its report to this House in the second part of the Budget session, 2023.