Indian laws continue to be drafted in an archaic fashion. Combining multiple legislative ideas in one single clause, reliance on redundant tools such as provisos and notwithstanding clauses, use of archaic, vague and foreign words and the employment of gendered language are some such practices. Poor, complex drafting renders a law inaccessible to the common person. The need of the hour, thus, is to simplify legislative drafting.
With the object of making laws simpler and accessible to all, Vidhi has come up with a Manual on Plain Language Drafting. The Manual sets out guidelines for the simple drafting of a law - the first part comprises guidelines dealing with the structure of a law (order of chapters and clauses, structural elements of preliminary clauses, definitions, etc.), while the second part lists out language guidelines (use of foreign words, grammar and sentence construction, etc.). To demonstrate the benefits of simple drafting, these guidelines are then applied to re-draft an existing law – The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharti) Act, 2007. Vidhi hopes that this Manual will serve as the starting point of the much needed journey towards the simpler drafting of laws in India.