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Restatements of three Indian Laws– on Legislative Privilege, Contempt of Court and Public Interest Litigation– were released by Chief Justice of India Sarosh Homi Kapadia this evening.

The restatements were put together by a Supreme Court Project Committee on Restatement of Indian Law which is chaired by Justice R V Raveendran.

As Justice Raveendran put it, a restatement does not amend a law but authoritatively documents it as per provisions of the Act and Supreme Court decisions and interpretation over years.

‘It is a continuous exercise’ intended to offer guidance to the legal community on what a Law and Justice Ministry statement dubbed ‘the march of Indian law in the last six decades through judicial pronouncements, legislations and their amendments, rules, regulations and other policy measures.’ The process of Restatement of Laws was initiated as early as 1923 in the United States.

An e-legal dictionary defines restatements as ‘sources of secondary authority to be cited in the support or defence of a particular claim made in a lawsuit.’ Restatements of Laws are not binding authority themselves, but they are highly persuasive because they are formulated over several years with extensive input from law professors, practising attorneys, and judges.

‘Although not legally binding upon the courts, restatements are effective in persuading a court to accept an argument advanced in an action.’ As American Judge Benjamin N Cardozo foresaw in 1923, such restatements ‘will be invested with unique authority, not to command, but to persuade. It will embody a composite thought and speak a composite voice.

‘Universities and bench and bar will have had a part in its creation. I have great faith in the power of such a restatement to unify our law.’

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