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Make law books error-free: Court
October, 20th 2011

Fed up with the numerous errors in various law books that are available in the market, the judiciary has itself come forward to correct them.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a host of mistakes in books while printing various laws, something that is apparently affecting its working as well, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government to take help of all High Court Bar Associations (HCBAs) and District Bar Associations (DBAs) in the state to sell government law books, particularly bare acts, having accurate information. Both Centre and state government have been asked to reply in eight weeks.

A division bench comprising justices Sharad Bobde and MN Gilani specifically asked the state law and judiciary secretary to appoint HCBAs, DBAs and various taluka courts across Maharashtra as selling agents for law books published in the Government Printing Press at various places as per terms and conditions. State law and judiciary secretary Hamid Patel was personally present during the hearing along with manager of Government Press in Nagpur Sanjay Waikar. RL Khapre has been appointed as amicus curiae in the PIL.

The judges also directed the state to review the text published in the law books by private publishers and direct necessary corrections to be made and even withdraw the publication, if necessary. "The respondents shall ensure that the copies of bare acts supplied to various bar associations shall be latest ones and wherever necessary, amendments should be provided," the court said.

Earlier, Khapre assisted by Abhishek Bhoot, strongly contended that state officials don't really check the law books submitted by private publications for errors. He further stated that the government should be looked into carefully for any error in the text of the law and should take steps to direct the publisher to make the necessary corrections. He argued that enactments of the state legislature are not available to the bar associations and public. However, government pleader Nitin Sambre pointed out that copies of bare acts are available at various Government Printing Press in Nagpur, Mumbai and Aurangabad.

The judges then tersely observed that even they don't get original copies of bare acts for reference and had to rely on copies supplied by private publications, which often contain errors. "The government should consider legal measures to remove errors in law books of private publications," the court said.

The state law secretary, Union of India, and director of Government Printing and Stationery in Mumbai, along with private publications including - Current Publications, Mumbai, Hind Law House, Pune, Shrivastava Publication House, Pune and Nagpur Law House at Wathoda in the city, were made respondents in the petition.

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