After 7 years, Centre fixes spelling mistakes in law

In a world of instant communication where Twitter and WhatsApp have become ubiquitous, typos are only to be expected. What would you say, however, about a law into which typographical errors such as “memebrs’’ and “stalement’’ crept in and that took seven years to fix.

Hindustan Times learns that the government finally issued a notification last week to correct these errors in a Constitutional Amendment Act. The errors had gone undetected for more than seven years.

On May 22, the legislative department of the Union ministry of law and justice issued a corrigenda correcting the errors in the Constitution (Ninety Seventh Amendment) Act of 2011.

In the corrigenda, Braj Raj Sharma, secretary of the legislative department, wrote that the word “members” had been twice written wrongly in the Act as “memebrs” and “stalement “should actually have been “stalemate”.

The 97th amendment was issued on January 13, 2012, with the purpose of including co-operative societies in Article 19(I) c, which gives citizens the right to form associations and unions. It also inserted Article 43B in Part IV of the Constitution: “The State shall endeavour to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of the co-operative societies”. The aim of the amendment was to encourage economic activities of co-operatives. The 97th amendment added Part IX B in the Constitution on co-operative societies after Part IX A. It is in this part that the printer’s devil struck thrice.

When contacted, former law secretary T K Vishwanathan said whenever such errors occur, errata are published. As a rule, any legislation is read at every stage not just in the law ministry, but also in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats. The former civil servant reckoned that the mistake must have crept in at the stage of printing.

Another former senior bureaucrat, Uday Kumar Varma said “normally such mistakes do not occur and they should not occur as even a misplaced comma can completely change the meaning of a sentence.” A former information and broadcasting secretary Uday Varma also felt that the typos may have crept in at the time of printing.

First Published:
May 29, 2019 07:41 IST

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