Opinion | The trouble with legislation that’s difficult to enforce
Well intentioned laws without the capacity to enforce them may result in even more rule violation
Last week, Parliament hastily passed three bills. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019, aims to increase the severity of punishment for sexual offences against children. The Code on Wages Bill, 2019, replaces four existing laws regulating wages, covers 500 million workers, and establishes floors for wages and overtime as well as penalties and criminal punishments for violating these rules. The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019, criminalizes violations of the spending provisions of money meant for corporate social responsibility activities. On the face of it, these are all well-meaning laws. However, aside from specific problems in each of them, they suffer from the common malady that they are likely to be extremely under-enforced because of weak state capacity. This raises the question—should Parliament pass laws that the government cannot enforce?