Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

President gave assent to the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 on 19-09-2020.

The Aircraft (Amendment) Act, 2020

Key Highlights:

  • Expressions “Directorate General of Civil Aviation”, “Bureau of Civil Aviation Security” and “Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau” defined.
  • Central Government empowered to constitute the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau under the Act and to specify their responsibilities thereof.
  • Central Government empowered to issue directions to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau on any matter if it is considered necessary so to do in the public interest;
  • Central Government empowered to review any order passed by the Director-General of Civil Aviation and the Director-General of Civil Aviation Security and also direct them to rescind or modify such order;
  • Regulation of all areas of air navigation services
  • Bureau of Civil Aviation Security or any authorised officer empowered to issue directions;
  • Maximum limit of fine enhanced from the existing ten lakh rupees to one crore rupees
  • Designated officers for adjudging penalties appointed
  • Compounding of Offences provided
  • To keep aircraft belonging to any armed forces of the Union other than naval, military or air force outside the purview of the Act

Read the Act here: 221843


Ministry of Law and Justice

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020

Lok Sabha passed the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020 on 21-09-2020.

Why has the bill been proposed?

The annual inflow of foreign contribution has almost doubled between the years 2010 and 2019, but many recipients of foreign contribution have not utilised the same for the purpose for which they were registered or granted prior permission under the said Act. Many of them were also found wanting in ensuring basic statutory compliances such as submission of annual returns and maintenance of proper accounts.

This has led to a situation where the Central Government had to cancel certificates of registration of more than 19,000 recipient organisations, including non-Governmental organisations, during the period between 2011 and 2019.

Therefore, there is a need to streamline the provisions of the said Act by strengthening the compliance mechanism, enhancing transparency and accountability in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution worth thousands of crores of rupees every year and facilitating genuine non-Governmental organisations or associations who are working for the welfare of the society.

Highlights of the Bill are as follows:

Prohibition to accept foreign contribution [Section 3]

No foreign contribution shall be accepted by any public servant, Judge, Government servant or employee of any corporation or any other body controlled or owned by the Government.

Prohibition to transfer foreign contribution to other person [Section 7]

Now the bill proposes the prohibition to the transfer of foreign contribution to another person and the requirement of valid certificate has also been removed. i.e earlier a person could transfer to the person with a valid certificate, but that has been removed now.

Restriction to utilise foreign contribution for the administrative purpose [Section 8]

The foreign contributions received shall be used only up to 20% which earlier was 50%.

Registration of certain persons with Central Government

[Section 11]

Only after the prior permission of the Central Government a person who is not registered shall accept the foreign contribution:

Provided that the Central Government, on the basis of any information or report, and after holding a summary inquiry, has reason to believe that a person who has been granted prior permission has contravened any of the provisions of this Act, it may, pending any further inquiry, direct that such person shall not utilise the unutilised foreign contribution or receive the remaining portion of foreign contribution which has not been received or, as the case may be, any additional foreign contribution, without prior approval of the Central Government:

Provided further that if the person referred to in sub-section (1) or in this sub-section has been found guilty.”.

Grant of Certificate of Registration [Section 12]

Every person who makes an application for grant of a certificate shall be required to open an FCRA Account in the manner mention in Section 17 Aand mention the details of such an account in his application.

Mandatory Aadhaar [Section 12 A] [New Section]

As an identification document for the purpose of this Act, Aadhaar number for all Office bearer or directors of all NGOs and other organization which is eligible for foreign contribution is mandatory. However, a passport or overseas citizen of India card is required in the case of foreign nationals.

Suspension of Certificate [Section 13]

Time limit for suspension of Certificate issued under FCRA has been stated to be as either 180 days or such further period not exceeding 180 days, as may be specified.

Surrender of Certificate [Section 14 A] [New Section]

If the Central Government is satisfied after inquiry as it deems fit, it can permit a person to surrender the certificate.

Foreign Contribution through Scheduled Bank [Section 17]

Now, under this provision, every person who has been granted a certificate or prior permission under Section 12 shall receive foreign contribution only in an account designated as “FCRA Account” which shall be opened by him in such branch of the State Bank of India at New Delhi.

Along with the above stated key highlights, amendments under Section 15 and 16 have also been made which can be referred to in the bill below.

Please read the bill here: BILL


Lok Sabha

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Parliament passed two bills aimed at transforming agriculture in the country and raising farmers’ incomes. The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 which were passed by Lok Sabha on 17th September 2020, were passed by the Rajya Sabha also today. The Bills were introduced in Lok Sabha on 14th September 2020 by Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, to replace ordinances promulgated on 5th June 2020..

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020

Main provisions –

  • The new legislation will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce.
  • It will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations.
  • The farmers will not be charged any cess or levy for sale of their produce and will not have to bear transport costs.
  • The Bill also proposes an electronic trading in transaction platform for ensuring a seamless trade electronically.
  • In addition to mandis, freedom to do trading at farmgate, cold storage, warehouse, processing units etc.
  • Farmers will be able to engage in direct marketing thereby eliminating intermediaries resulting in full realization of price.

Doubts –

  • Procurement at Minimum Support Price will stop
  • If farm produce is sold outside APMC mandis, these will stop functioning
  • What will be the future of government electronic trading portal like e-NAM

Clarification –

  • Procurement at Minimum Support Price will continue, farmers can sell their produce at MSP rates, the MSP for Rabi season will be announced next week
  • Mandis will not stop functioning, trading will continue here as before. Under the new system, farmers will have the option to sell their produce at other places in addition to the mandis
  • The e-NAM trading system will also continue in the mandis
  • Trading in farm produce will increase on electronic platforms. It will result in greater transparency and time saving

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020

Main provisions –

  • The new legislation will empower farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters etc., on a level playing field. Price assurance to farmers even before sowing of crops. In case of higher market price, farmers will be entitled to this price over and above the minimum price.
  • It will transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor. Due to prior price determination, farmers will be shielded from the rise and fall of market prices.
  • It will also enable the farmer to access modern technology, better seed and other inputs.
  • It will reduce cost of marketing and improve income of farmers.
  • Effective dispute resolution mechanism has been provided for with clear time lines for redressal.
  • Impetus to research and new technology in agriculture sector.

Doubts –

  • Under contract farming, farmers will be under pressure and they will not be able to determine prices
  • How will small farmers be able to practice contract farming, sponsors will shy away from them
  • The new system will be a problem for farmers
  • In case of dispute, big companies will be at an advantage

Clarification –

  • The farmer will have full power in the contract to fix a sale price of his choice for the produce. They will receive payment within a maximum of 3 days.
  • 10000 Farmer Producer organizations are being formed throughout the country. These FPOs will bring together small farmers and work to ensure remunerative pricing for farm produce
  • After signing contract, farmer will not have seek out traders. The purchasing consumer will pick up the produce directly from the farm
  • In case of dispute, there will be no need to go to court repeatedly. There will be local dispute redressal mechanism.

Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill,  2020

Which Act will this bill amend?

The Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

Which Sections will the said Bill amend?

Insertion of sub-section (1 A) after sub-section (1) in Section 3.

‘(1A) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1),—

(a) the supply of such foodstuffs, including cereals, pulses, potato, onions, edible oilseeds and oils, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, may be regulated only under extraordinary circumstances which may include war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity of grave nature;

(b) any action on imposing stock limit shall be based on price rise and an order for regulating stock limit of any agricultural produce may be issued under this Act only if there is—

(i) hundred per cent. increase in the retail price of horticultural produce; or

(ii) fifty per cent. increase in the retail price of non-perishable agricultural foodstuffs, over the price prevailing immediately preceding twelve months, or average retail price of the last five years, whichever is lower:

Provided that such order for regulating stock limit shall not apply to a processor or value chain participant of any agricultural produce if the stock limit of such person does not exceed the overall ceiling of installed capacity of processing, or the demand for export in case of an exporter:

Provided further that nothing contained in this sub-section shall apply to any order, relating to the Public Distribution System or the Targeted Public Distribution System, made by the Government under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force

Read the detailed bill, here: BILL

As per media reports, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 has been passed by Lok Sabha.


Lok Sabha

Hot Off The PressNews

Following are the Bills that have received President’s assent in this week of the Parliament Sessions:

  • The Chit Funds (Amendment) Act, 2019
  • The Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Act, 2019
  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019
  • The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act, 2019

Read the process of how a Bill becomes an Act below:

The basic function of Parliament is to make laws. All legislative proposals have to be brought in the form of Bills before Parliament. A Bill is a statute in draft and cannot become law unless it has received the approval of both the Houses of Parliament and the assent of the President of India.

The process of law making begins with the introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament. A Bill can be introduced either by a Minister or a member other than a Minister. In the former case, it is called a Government Bill and in the latter case, it is known as a Private Member’s Bill.

A Bill undergoes three readings in each House, i.e., the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, before it is submitted to the President for assent.

First Reading

The First Reading refers to (i) motion for leave to introduce a Bill in the House on the adoption of which the Bill is introduced; or(ii) in the case of a Bill originated in and passed by the other House, the laying on the Table of the House of the Bill, as passed by the other House.

Second Reading

The Second Reading consists of two stages.The “First Stage” constitutes discussion on the principles of the Bill and its provisions generally on any of the following motions – that the Bill be taken into consideration; or that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee of the House; or that the Bill be referred to a Joint Committee of the Houses with the concurrence of the other House; or that the Bill be circulated for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon. The “Second Stage” constitutes the clause by clause consideration of the Bill, as introduced in the House or as reported by a Select or Joint Committee, as the case may be.

In the case of a Bill passed by Rajya Sabha and transmitted to Lok Sabha, it is first laid on the Table of Lok Sabha by the Secretary-General, Lok Sabha. In this case the Second Reading refers to the motion (i) that the Bill, as passed by Rajya Sabha, be taken into consideration; or (ii) that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee (if the Bill has not already been referred to a Joint Committee of the Houses).

Third Reading

The Third Reading refers to the discussion on the motion that the Bill or the Bill, as amended, be passed.

Almost similar procedure is followed in Rajya Sabha in respect of Bills introduced in that House.

After a Bill has been finally passed by the Houses of Parliament, it is submitted to the President for his assent. After a Bill has received the assent of the President, it becomes the law of the land.

Reference of Bills to Departmentally Related Standing Committees

The year 1993 ushered in a new era in the history of Indian Parliament when 17 Departmentally Related Standing Committees were constituted. The number of Standing Committees has now been increased from 17 to 24. While 8 Committees work under the direction of the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, 16 Committees work under the direction of the Speaker, Lok Sabha.

One of the important functions of these Committees is to examine such Bills introduced in either House as are referred to them by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha, as the case may be, and make report thereon.

The reports of the Standing Committees have persuasive value. In case the Government accepts any of the recommendations of the Committee, it may bring forward official amendments at the consideration stage of the Bill or may withdraw the Bill reported by the Standing Committee and bring forward a new Bill after incorporating the recommendations of the Standing Committee.

BILLS BEFORE A SELECT OR JOINT COMMITTEE

If a Bill is referred to a Select or a Joint Committee, it considers the Bill clause-by-clause just as the House does. Amendments can be moved to the various clauses by the members of the Committee. After the report of the Select or Joint Committee has been presented to the House, the member-in-charge of the Bill usually moves the motion for consideration of the Bill, as reported by the Select or Joint Committee, as the case may be.

A Money Bill or a Financial Bill containing any of the provisions calculated to make a Bill a Money Bill, however, cannot be referred to a Joint Committee of the Houses.

RESTRICTION ON INTRODUCTION OF CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF BILLS IN RAJYA SABHA

A Bill may be introduced in either House of Parliament. However,a Money Bill can not be introduced in Rajya Sabha.It can only be introduced in Lok Sabha with prior recommendation of the President for introduction in Lok Sabha. If any question arises whether a Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker thereon is final.

Rajya Sabha is required to return a Money Bill passed and transmitted by Lok Sabha within a period of 14 days from the date of its receipt. Rajya Sabha may return a Money Bill transmitted to it with or without recommendations. It is open to Lok Sabha to accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha.

However, if Rajya Sabha does not return a Money Bill within the prescribed period of 14 days, the Bill is deemed to havebeen passed by both Houses of Parliament at the expiry of the said period of 14 days in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha.

Like Money Bills, Bills which, inter alia, contain provisions for any of the matters attracting sub-clauses (a) to (f) of clause (1) of article 110 can also not be introduced in Rajya Sabha. They can be introduced only in Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the President. However, other restrictions in regard to Money Bills do not apply to such Bills.

CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILLS

The Constitution vests in Parliament the power to amend the Constitution. Constitution Amendment Bills can be introduced in eitherHouse of Parliament. While motions for introduction of Constitution Amendment Bills are adopted by simple majority , a majority of the total membership of the House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting is required for adoption of effective clauses and motions for consideration and passing of these Bills. Constitution Amendment Bills affecting vital issues as enlisted in the proviso to article 368(2) of the Constitution after having been passed by the Houses of Parliament, have also to be ratified by not less than one half of the State Legislatures.

JOINT SITTING

Article 108(1) of the Constitution provides that when a Bill (other than a Money Bill or a Bill seeking to amend the Constitution) passed by one House is rejected by the other House or the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments made in the Bill or more than six months lapse from the date of the receipt of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it, the President may, unless the Bill has lapsed by reason of dissolution of Lok Sabha, notify to the Houses by message, if they are sitting, or by public notification, if they are not sitting, his intention to summon them to meet in a Joint Sitting.

The President has made the Houses of Parliament (Joint Sittings and Communications) Rules in terms of clause (3) of article 118 of the Constitution to regulate the procedure with respect to Joint Sitting of Houses.

So far, there have been three occasions when Bills were considered and passed in a Joint Sitting of the Houses of Parliament.

ASSENT TO BILLS

After a Bill has been passed by both the Houses of Parliament, it is presented to the President for his assent. The President mayeither assent to the Bill, withhold his assent, or return the Bill, if it is not a Money Bill, with a message for reconsideration of the Bill, or any specified provisions thereof, or for considering the desirability of introducing any such amendments as he may recommend in his message.

The President may either give or withhold his assent to a Money Bill. A Money Bill can not be returned to the House by the President for reconsideration. Also, the President is bound to give hisassent to Constitution Amendment Bill passed by Parliament by the prescribed special majority and, where necessary, ratified by the requisite number of State Legislatures.

Hot Off The PressNews

Rajya Sabha passed a few path-breaking Bills positively impacting the socio-economic development of the country besides checking corruption and improving transparency. These include:

1. The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill,2019 providing 10% reservation for economically weaker sections;

2. The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 for introduction of GST and nine other related Bills;

3. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bills, 2015 and 2018;

4. The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 to prevent sexual abuse of children;

5. The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018;

6. The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018;

7. The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Bill, 2015;

8. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and the related Amendment Bill, 2017;

9. The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017 for setting up a National Commission for Backward Classes;

10. The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2016 to protect the interest of buyers and enhance the confidence in and credibility of the important real estate sector;

11. The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill,2015 and 2016 besides The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill,2015 for auctioning of mines;

12. The Aadhar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016;

13. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016;

14. The Commercial Courts, Commercial Divisions and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, 2015; and

15. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016.

[Source: PIB]