British colonial rule
A march of women through Bombay, shows them taunting police at Maidan Esplanade during the time when there was a call to boycott British goods. Getty Images

An estimated 300 outdated laws that were introduced by the former British colonial rulers are to be repealed in India in a landmark legislation clean-up.

Under the old laws, including the Treasure Trove Act of 1878, any treasure found on the Indian soil, worth even as little as 1 penny (10 rupees) belongs to "Her Majesty."

Some of the laws on our books are laughable. Others have no place in a modern and democratic India.
- Ravi Shankar Prasad, Law Minister

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who is leading the mission said, "Some of the laws on our books are laughable. Others have no place in a modern and democratic India."

While previous Indian lawmakers have failed to remove obsolete and obscure laws dating back to the 19<sup>th century, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi both has the will and possibly the support from other government departments that have in the past come in the way of eradicating the laws.

Less regulation will make way for faster decision-making, and Modi is hopeful the cull of rules will open up India to more investors, and make the country a less puzzling place to do business.

Prasad remains sceptical, however, and says that despite the removal of several laws, there will still remain hundreds of other clauses, which can prove to be obstacles to do business.

Economist Bibek Debroy who has penned a book on the absurdities of Indian law warns the obscure laws can be abused unless taken care of.

"There are instances where the entire statute is dysfunctional," said Debroy.

For instance, a New Delhi hotel faced a lawsuit when a person who was refused water invoked an 1867 act that required hotels to offer passers-by free drinks of water.

India currently ranks 134 out of the 189 countries on World Bank's "ease of doing business table." Modi is hopeful he can push India into the top 50 after doing away with the old laws.