Legislation UpdatesNotifications

Government of India has taken steps to strengthen legislative provisions to deal with incidents of sexual offences against women and girls.

Government of India has also issued various advisories to the States/ Union Territories from time-to-time emphasizing the strict actions to be taken by the police in cases of crime against women, including in cases of sexual assault which includes registration of FIR, collection of evidence for forensic examination and use of Sexual Assault Evidence Collection (SAEC) Kit, completion of investigation in sexual assault cases in two months, use of National Database on Sexual Offenders for identifying and tracking repeat sexual offenders, etc.

Criminal laws relating to sexual offences against women provide, inter-alia, for the following actions to be taken by the Police in such cases:

Zero FIR

(i) Compulsory registration of FIR in case of cognizable offence under sub-section (1) of section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC). The law also enables the police to register FIR or a “Zero FIR” (in case the crime is committed outside the jurisdiction of police station) in the event of receipt of information on commission of a cognizable offence, which includes cases of sexual assault on women.

Punishment to a Public Servant

(ii) Section 166 A(c) of the Indian Penal Code 1860 (IPC) provides for punishment to a public servant for failure to record FIR in relation to cognizable offences punishable under section 326A, Section 326B, Section 354, Section 354B, Section 370, Section 370A, Section 376, Section 376A, Section 376AB, Section 376B, Section 376C, Section 376D, Section 376DA, Section 376DB, Section 376E or Section 509 in IPC.

Police Investigation in 2 months | Rape

(iii) Section 173 of CrPC provides for completion of police investigation in relation to rape in two months. In order to facilitate the State police to monitor compliance, in this regard MHA has provided an online portal called Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) for monitoring the same. This is available exclusively to law enforcement officers.

Registered Medical Practitioner

(iv) Section 164-A of CrPC provides that in rape/sexual assault investigation the victim shall be examined by a registered medical practitioner under consent within twenty-four hours from the time of receiving the information relating to the commission of such offence.

Dying Declaration

(v) Section 32 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, provides that the statement, written or verbal, by a person who is dead shall be treated as relevant fact in the investigation when the statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death. Hon’ble Supreme Court in its order dated 7th January 2020, in the matter of Criminal Appeal Nos. 194-195 of 2012 in the case of Purshottam Chopra & Anr. v. State (Govt. of NCT Delhi), directed that a particular statement, when being offered as dying declaration and satisfies all the requirements of judicial scrutiny, cannot be discarded merely because it has not been recorded by a Magistrate or that the police officer did not obtain attestation by any person present at the time of making of the statement.

Forensic Evidence

(vi)The Directorate of Forensic Science Services (DFSS) under the MHA has issued Guidelines for collection, preservation & transportation of forensic evidence in sexual assault cases for Investigation Officers and Medical Officers. In order to facilitate the State Police, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) has issued Sexual Assault Evidence Collection (SAEC) Kits to every State/UT. It is necessary to use these SAEC kits in every case of sexual assault reported. MHA advisory dated 5th October 2020 in this matter may be referred. BPR&D and LNJN National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences (NICFS) have been regularly conducting Training and Training of Trainers (ToT) programmes on the procedure for collection, preservation and handling of forensic evidence for Police/Prosecutors and Medical Officers respectively.

Further, MHA stated, any failure of police to adhere to the mandatory requirements may not augur well for the delivery of criminal justice in the country, especially in the context of women safety. Such lapses, if noticed, need to be investigated into and stringent action taken immediately against the officers concerned responsible for the same.

Read the Advisory here: ADVISORY


Ministry of Home and Affairs

[Advisory dt. 09-10-2020]

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

Here’s the list of all the Bills that received Presidential Assent for the Monsson Session of 2020:

Act

Presidential Assent

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020

20-09-2020

The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Act, 2020

29-09-2020

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020

28-09-2020

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020

28-09-2020

The Code on Social Security, 2020

28-09-2020

The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Act, 2020

28-09-2020

The Companies (Amendment) Act, 2020

28-09-2020

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020

28-09-2020

The Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Act, 2020

26-09-2020

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

24-09-2020

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

24-09-2020

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act,  2020

26-09-2020

The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Act, 2020

21-09-2020

Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Act, 2020

24-09-2020

The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Act, 2020

20-09-2020

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Act, 2020

23-09-2020

The Aircraft (Amendment) Act, 2020

19-09-2020

The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020

28-09-2020

The National Forensic Sciences University Act, 2020

28-09-2020

The Rashtriya Raksha University Act, 2020

28-09-2020

The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Act, 2020

28-09-2020

The Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Act, 2020

25-09-2020

The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Act, 2020

25-09-2020


For Additional Reading:

Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020 | Co-operative banks brought under RBI supervision

Taxation & Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Act, 2020 | Faceless jurisdiction of income-tax authorities [Key Features]

Industrial Relations Code, 2020 | Recognition of Negotiating Union, Prohibition on strikes & lock-outs without prior notice of 14 days [Key Highlights]

Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 | Women shall be entitled to be employed in all establishments for all types of work [Key Features]

Code on Social Security, 2020 | Schemes for unorganised workers, gig workers & platform workers, Gratuity period for journalists reduced from 5 to 3 years, Scope of Social Security widened [Read More]

Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Act, 2020: Enforcement of netting of a qualified financial contract

[Presidential Assent] Companies (Amendment) Act, 2020: Decriminalisation of offences which lack element of fraud or involve larger public interest

Presidential Assent | Does the amended Foreign Contribution Act, 2020 places restriction on use of foreign contribution? Explainer

[Presidential Assent] Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Act, 2020 | 5 languages to be the official languages

[SPOTLIGHT] Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 | Is this a step towards direct marketing of farmers’ produce?

Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 | Will farming agreement help in eliminating intermediaries? Decoded

[Presidential Assent] Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020: Under what circumstances can government impose stock limits? Explainer

[Presidential Assent] Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Act, 2020 [Key Features]

[Presidential Assent] Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020: Bill to cut salaries of MPs by 30%

[Presidential Assent] National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Act, 2020 | National Exit Test to be conducted for granting license as a medical practitioner [Key Highlights]

Presidential Assent | Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Act, 2020; Temporary Suspension of Initiation of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process

Parliament Session | The Aircraft (Amendment) Act, 2020; Maximum quantum of fine enhanced from 10 lakhs to 1 crore rupees

 

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 received Presidential Assent on 29-09-2020.

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020 will replace the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

Certain amendments were considered necessary in the said Act to provide for better management and proper regulation of co-operative banks and to ensure that the affairs of the co-operative banks are conducted in a manner that protects the interests of the depositors, by increasing professionalism, enabling access to capital, improving governance and ensuring sound banking through the Reserve Bank of India.

Further amendments were proposed to be made in Section 45 of the Act to enable the Reserve Bank of India to make a scheme to protect the interests of the public, the banking system, depositors or to secure the banking company’s proper management, without first making an order of moratorium so as to avoid disruptions in the financial system.

Following are the features:

(i) substitution of Section 3 to provide that the Act shall not apply to— (a) a primary agricultural credit society; or (b) a co-operative society whose primary object and principal business is providing of long term finance for agricultural development, if such society does not use as part of its name, or in connection with its business, the words “bank”, “banker” or “banking” and does not act as drawee of cheques;

(ii) amendment of Section 45 to address the potential disruptions in the financial system by providing for the Reserve Bank of India to prepare a scheme for the reconstruction or amalgamation of the banking company without the necessity of first making an order of moratorium;

(iii) amendment of Section 56 to provide that notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the provisions of the Act shall apply to co-operative societies, subject to the modifications specified therein.

Read the Act, here: Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020


Ministry of Law and Justice

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 received Presidential Assent on 28-09-2020.

The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020

On recommendations by the Second National Commission on Labour, and the deliberations made in the tripartite meeting comprising of the Government, employers’ and industry representatives, it was decided to bring the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.

The legislation intends to amalgamate, simplify and rationalise the relevant provisions of the following thirteen Central labour enactments relating to occupation, safety, health and working conditions of workers, namely:—

1. The Factories Act, 1948;

2. The Plantations Labour Act, 1951;

3. The Mines Act, 1952;

4. The Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1955;

5. The Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958;

6. The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961;

7. The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966;

8. The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970;

9. The Sales Promotion Employees (Condition of Service) Act, 1976;

10. The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979;

11. The Cine Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers Act, 1981;

12. The Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986; and

13. The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.

Key Highlights

Technological Changes

(i) to impart flexibility in adapting technological changes and dynamic factors, in the matters relating to health, safety, welfare and working conditions of workers;

(ii) to apply the provisions of the proposed Code for all establishments having ten or more workers, other than the establishments relating to mines and docks;

One Registration for all Establishments

(iii) to provide the concept of “one registration” for all establishments having ten or more employees. However, for the applicability of all other provisions of the Code in respect of factories, except registration, the threshold has been fixed twenty workers in a factory (with power) and forty workers (without power);

Journalists

(iv) to include the journalist working in electronic media such as in e-paper establishment or in radio or in other media in the definition of “working journalists”;

Appointment Letter Mandatory

(v) to provide for issuing of appointment letter mandatorily by the employer of an establishment to promote formalisation in employment;

Free Health Check-Ups

(vi) to provide free of cost annual health check-ups for employees above the specified age in all or certain class of establishments by which it would be possible to detect diseases at an early stage for effective and proper treatment of the employees;

Inter-State Migrant Workers

(vii) to make the provisions relating to Inter-State Migrant Workers applicable on the establishment in which ten or more migrant workers are employed or were employed on any day of the preceding twelve months and also provide that an Inter-State Migrant may register himself as an Inter-State Migrant Worker on the portal on the basis of self-declaration and Aadhaar;

(viii) an Inter-State Migrant Worker has been provided with the portability to avail benefits in the destination State in respect of ration and availing benefits of building and other construction worker cess;

Constitution of National Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board

(ix) to constitute the National Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board to give recommendations to the Central Government on policy matters, relating to occupational safety, health and working conditions of workers;

(x) to constitute the State Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board at the State level to advice the State Government on such matters arising out of the administration of the proposed Code;

(xi) to make a provision for the constitution of Safety Committee by the appropriate Government in any establishment or class of establishments;

Employment of Women

(xii) to employ women in all establishments for all types of work. They can also work at night, that is, beyond 7 PM and before 6 AM subject to the conditions relating to safety, holiday, working hours and their consent;

Common License

(xiii) to make provision of “common license” for factory, contract labour and beedi and cigar establishments and to introduce the concept of a single all India license for a period of five years to engage the contract labour;

Monetary Penalties

(xiv) to enable the courts to give a portion of monetary penalties up to fifty per cent. to the worker who is a victim of an accident or to the legal heirs of such victim in the case of his death;

(xv) to provide overriding powers to the Central Government to regulate general safety and health of persons residing in whole or part of India in the event of the declaration of epidemic or pandemic or disaster;

(xvi) to make provision for Social Security Fund for the welfare of unorganised workers; and

(xvii) to make provision for adjudging the penalties imposed under the Code.

Read the Act, here: Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020


Ministry of Law and Justice

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

The Code on Social Security, 2020 received Presidential Assent on 28-09-2020.

The Code on Social Security, 2020

Second National Commission on Labour, which submitted its report in June, 2002 had recommended that the existing set of labour laws should be broadly amalgamated into the following groups, namely:—

(a) industrial relations; (b) wages; (c) social security; (d) safety; and (e) welfare and working conditions.

With the introduction of the Code, the following Acts are repealed:

 1. The Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923;

2. The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948;

3. The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952;

4. The Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959;

5. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961;

6. The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972;

7. The Cine-Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981;

8. The Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996;

9. The Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008.

Benefit of amalgamation of the above-stated laws:

It will remove the multiplicity of definitions and authorities without compromising the basic concepts of welfare and benefits to workers.

Widening the scope of the benefits to the fixed-term employees would be a big step towards equity.

Features of the Bill:

(i) to amend and consolidate the laws relating to social security with the goal to extend social security to all employees and workers either in the organised or unorganised or any other sectors;

(ii) to provide for an establishment to be covered under Chapter III relating to Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and under Chapter IV relating to Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) on a voluntary basis even if the number of employees in that establishment is less than the threshold. It further seeks to make those Chapters inapplicable to such establishments on fulfilment of certain conditions;

(iii) to define various expressions used in the Bill such as, “career centre”, “aggregator”, “gig worker”, “platform worker”, “wage ceiling”, etc. Further, the definition of “employee” has been comprehensively elaborated to cover maximum number of employees and workers;

(iv) to provide for registration, electronically or otherwise, of every establishment to which the Bill applies, within such time and in such manner as the Central Government may by rules determine. It further provides for an option for cancellation of registration by any establishment whose business activities are in the process of closure, subject to the conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government;

(v) constitution of various social security organisations for the administration of the Bill, namely, (a) the Central Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Provident Fund (Central Board), (b) the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (Corporation), (c) the National Social Security Board for Unorganised Workers (National Social Security Board), (d) the State Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Board and (e) the State Building Workers Welfare Boards;

(vi) to provide that the medical education institutions and training institutes of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation may be run by the Corporation itself or on the request of the Corporation, by the Central Government, any State Government, any Public Sector Undertaking of the Central Government or the State Government or any other body notified by the Central Government;

(vii) to empower the Central Government to frame schemes for unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers and the members of their families for providing benefits relating to Employees’ State Insurance Corporation;

(viii) provisions for maternity benefits such as prohibition from work during certain periods, provision of nursing breaks, crèche facility, claim for maternity benefits, etc.;

(ix) to empower the Central Government, by notification, to assign additional work, including administration of any other enactment or scheme relating to social security, to any of the social security organisations and the expenses towards such additional work shall be borne by the Central Government;

(x) to empower the Central Government to frame schemes for the purposes of providing social security benefits to self-employed workers or any other class of persons;

(xi) to empower the Central Government to specify by notification, rates of employees’ contributions to the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme and the period for which such rates shall apply for any class of employee;

(xii) to provide for an appeal against an order passed by any authority in regard to determination and assessment of dues and levy of damages relating to Employees’ Provident Fund by an employer only after depositing with Social Security Organisation concerned, twenty-five per cent. of the amount due from him as determined by the authority against whose order the appeal has been preferred;

(xiii) to provide that in the case of an employee employed on fixed-term employment or a deceased employee, the employer shall pay gratuity on a pro-rata basis and not on the basis of continuous service of five years;

(xiv) to make provision for payment of cess by an employer in case of building and other construction work, payable under Chapter VIII on the basis of his self-assessment;

(xv) to provide for the registration of every unorganised worker, gig worker or platform worker on the basis of self-declaration electronically or otherwise, along with such documents including Aadhaar number, in such form and in such manner, containing such information as may be prescribed by the Central Government;

(xvi) to empower the Central Government by order, to defer or reduce employer’s contribution, or employee’s contribution, or both, payable under Chapter III or Chapter IV, as the case may be, for a period up to three months at a time, in respect of establishment to which Chapter III or Chapter IV, as the case may be, applies, for the whole of India or part thereof in the event of a pandemic, endemic or national disaster;

(xvii) to provide for establishment and maintenance of separate accounts under social security fund, for the welfare of unorganised workers, gig workers and platform workers; and a separate account for the amount received from the composition of offences under the Bill or under any other central labour laws.

Read the detailed Act, here: Code on Social Security, 2020


Ministry of Law and Justice

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020 received Presidential Assent on 28-09-2020.

The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Act, 2020

Purpose:

Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Act, 2020 will ensure stability and promote competitiveness in Indian financial markets by providing enforceability of bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Meaning of Netting:

Netting enables two counterparties in a bilateral financial contract to offset claims against each other to determine a single net payment obligation due from one counterparty to other in the event of default.

In the absence of a legal framework for bilateral netting, banks are forced to measure credit exposure to a counterparty for over-the-counter (OTC) derivative contracts based on a gross basis and not a net basis.

Benefit of law on bilateral netting?

The law on bilateral netting would be a significant enabler for efficient margining. The capital saving would enable banks to provide price efficiency in offering hedging instruments to businesses in India and catalyse the corporate bond market through developing the credit default swap market. It is expected that a law on bilateral netting of financial transactions would further develop the financial market in India.

The said Act will provide for the following:

(a) designation of any bilateral agreement or contract or transaction, or type of contract, as qualified financial contract by the Central Government or any of the regulatory authorities as specified in the First Schedule;

(b) enforceability of netting of a qualified financial contract;

(c) invocation of close-out netting which may be commenced by a notice given by one party to the other party of a qualified financial contract upon the occurrence of an event of default with respect to the other party or a termination event that may, in certain circumstances, occur automatically as specified in the netting agreement;

(d) determination of the net amount payable under the close-out netting in accordance with the terms of the netting agreement entered into by the parties and in the absence of the netting agreement, where the parties to a qualified financial contract fail to agree on the sum with regard to the net amount payable under the close-out netting, determination of such sum through arbitration;

(e) imposing certain limitations on powers of administration practitioner

Read the ACT here: Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020


Ministry of Law and Justice

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 received Presidential Assent on 28-09-2020.

The Companies (Amendment) Act, 2020

Purpose:

Based on the recommendations of the Company Law Committee and an internal review by the Government, it is proposed to amend various provisions of the Act to decriminalise minor procedural or technical lapses under the provisions of the said Act, into civil wrong; and considering the overall pendency of the courts, a principle-based approach was adopted to further remove criminality in case of defaults, which can be determined objectively and which otherwise lack any element of fraud or do not involve larger public interest. In addition, the Government also proposes to provide greater ease of living to corporates through certain other amendments to the Act.

Key Features:

(a) to decriminalise certain offences under the Act in case of defaults which can be determined objectively and which otherwise lack any element of fraud or do not involve larger public interest;

(b) to empower the Central Government to exclude, in consultation with the Securities and Exchange Board, a certain class of companies from the definition of “listed company”, mainly for listing of debt securities;

(c) to clarify the jurisdiction of the trial court on the basis of place of commission of offence under Section 452 of the Act for wrongful withholding of property of a company by its officers or employees, as the case may be;

(d) to incorporate a new Chapter XXIA in the Act relating to Producer Companies, which was earlier part of the Companies Act, 1956;

(e) to set up Benches of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal;

(f) to make provisions for allowing payment of adequate remuneration to non-executive directors in case of inadequacy of profits, by aligning the same with the provisions for remuneration to executive directors in such cases;

(g) to relax provisions relating to charging of higher additional fees for default on two or more occasions in submitting, filing, registering or recording any document, fact or information as provided in Section 403;

(h) to extend the applicability of Section 446B, relating to lesser penalties for small companies and one-person companies, to all provisions of the Act which attract monetary penalties and also extend the same benefit to Producer Companies and start-ups;

(i) to exempt any class of persons from complying with the requirements of Section 89 relating to declaration of beneficial interest in shares and exempt any class of foreign companies or companies incorporated outside India from the provisions of Chapter XXII relating to companies incorporated outside India;

(j) to reduce timelines for applying for rights issues so as to speed up such issues under Section 62;

(k) to extend exemptions to certain classes of non-banking financial companies and housing finance companies from filing certain resolutions under Section 117;

(l) to provide that the companies which have Corporate Social Responsibility spending obligation up to 50 lakh rupees shall not be required to constitute the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee and to allow eligible companies under Section 135 to set off any amount spent in excess of their Corporate Social Responsibility spending obligation in a particular financial year towards such obligation in subsequent financial years;

(m) to provide for a window within which penalties shall not be levied for delay in filing annual returns and financial statements in certain cases;

(n) to provide for specified classes of unlisted companies to prepare and file their periodical financial results;

(o) to allow direct listing of securities by Indian companies in permissible foreign jurisdictions as per rules to be prescribed.

Read the detailed Act here: ACT


Ministry of Law and Justice

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020 received Presidential Assent on 28-09-2020.

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 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 Act here: ACT 


Ministry of Law and Justice

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

The Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020 received Presidential Assent on 26-09-2020.

The Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Act, 2020

FEATURES:

Official languages of Union territory [SECTION 3]

The Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, Hindi and English languages shall be the official languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the Union territory.

English may continue to be used in the union territory for those administrative and legislative purposes for which it was being used before the commencement of the Act.  

Promotion and development of regional languages [SECTION 4]

The Administrator may, for the promotion and development of regional languages of the Union territory, take necessary steps to strengthen the existing institutional mechanisms such as the Academy of Art, Culture and languages in the Union territory.

The institutional mechanisms shall make special efforts for the promotion and development of Gojri, Pahari and Punjabi languages.

Read the detailed amendments here: Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Act, 2020


Ministry of Law and Justice

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 received the President’s assent on 24-09-2020.

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

Purpose of the Act:

The following are the objectives of the Act:

  • Creation of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to the sale and purchase of farmers’ produce which facilitates the remunerative process through competitive alternative trading channels.
  • To promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter-State and intra-State trade and commerce of farmers’ produce outside the physical premises of markets or deemed markets notified under various State agricultural produce market legislations.
  • To provide a facilitative framework for electronic trading and for matters connected.

Key Highlights

Freedom to conduct trade and commerce in a trade area [SECTION 3]

Any farmer or trader or electronic trading and transaction platform shall have the freedom to carry on the inter-State or intra-State trade and commerce in farmers’ produce in a trade area.

Trade and commerce of scheduled farmers’ produce [SECTION 4]

Any trader may engage in the inter-State trade or intra-State trade of scheduled farmers’ produce with a farmer or another trader in a trade area.

Trader who transacts with farmers shall make payment for the traded scheduled farmers’ produce on the same day or within the maximum three working days.

Market fee under State APMC Act, etc., in the trade area [SECTION 6]

No market fee or cess or levy under any State APMC Act or any other State Law shall be levied for trade and commerce in scheduled farmers’ produce in a trade area.

Price Information and Market Intelligence System [SECTION 7]

Central Government may develop a Price Information and Market Intelligence System for farmers’ produce and framework to disseminate information relating to the stated.

Dispute Resolution Mechanism for Farmers[SECTION 8]

In the incident of any dispute arising between the farmer and trader with respect to a transaction, parties may seek a mutually acceptable solution through conciliation by filing an application to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, who will further refer the dispute to a Conciliation Board.

Suspension or cancellation of the right to operate in electronic trading and transaction platform [SECTION 9]

The Agriculture Marketing Adviser, Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, Government of India or an officer of the State Government may on its own motion or on a petition or reference from any Government Agency take cognizance of any breach of the procedures, norms, manner of registration and code of conduct or any breach of the guidelines for fair trade practices by the electronic trading and transaction platform.

Appeal against cancellation of right to operate [SECTION 10]

An appeal can be made under this Section on being aggrieved by an Order under Section 9.

To Read the detailed Act, please follow the link given below:

Ministry of Law and Justice

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 received Presidential Assent on 24-09-2020.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

What is the purpose of this Act?

This Act will provide a national framework for the farming agreements that protect and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner.

Key Features:

Farming Agreement [SECTION 3]

A farmer may enter into a farming agreement, which may provide for the following:

(a) the terms and conditions for supply of such produce, including the time of supply, quality, grade, standards, price and such other matters; and

(b) the terms related to supply of farm services

Farmers can’t enter into a farming agreement in derogation of any rights of a share cropper.

The minimum period of the agreement: one crop season or one production cycle of livestock

Maximum period of the agreement: 5 years

To facilitate such agreement, the government may issue guidelines with model agreements.

Quality, grade and standards of farming produce [Section 4]

The terms in regard to Quality, grade and standards of farming produce will be mutually agreed and the said standards or quality, the grade shall be explicitly mentioned in the faring agreement.

Pricing Agreement [Section 5]

Pricing with regard to the purchase of farming produce shall be mentioned in the agreement.

In case the above-stated price is subject to variation, the agreement shall explicitly provide for the following:

(a) a guaranteed price to be paid for such produce;

(b) a clear price reference for any additional amount over and above the guaranteed price, including bonus or premium, to ensure the best value to the farmer and such price reference may be linked to the prevailing prices in specified APMC yard or electronic trading and transaction platform or any other suitable benchmark prices

The method of determining the stated price should be mentioned in the agreement.

Sale or purchase of farming produce [SECTION 6]

Sponsor should take the delivery of farming produce on the agreed time and delivery date.

At the time of accepting the farm produce, its the responsibility of the farmer to inspect the same as afterwards, he shall have no right to retract from acceptance of such produce.

Farming Agreement relating to seed production: Sponsor shall make payment of not less than 2/3rd of the agreed amount at the delivery time; Remaining amount after due certification but not later than 30 days of delivery.

Other cases than seed production: Payment to be made at the time of accepting the delivery of farming produce and issue a receipt slip

Exemptions with respect to farming produce [SECTION 7]

Once a farmer enters into a farming agreement, he shall be exempted from the State Act with regard to regulation of sale and purchase of farming produce.

Essential Commodities Act will also not be applicable, if the farm produce is purchased under the farming agreement.

Sponsor prohibited from acquiring ownership rights or making permanent modifications on farmer’s land or premises [SECTION 8]

Farming Agreement shall not be entered for the following purpose:

  • any transfer, including sale, lease and mortgage of the land or premises of the farmer
  • raising any permanent structure or making any modification on the land or premises of the farmer, unless the Sponsor agrees to remove such structure or to restore the land to its original condition, at his cost, on the conclusion of the agreement or expiry of the agreement period,

Linkage of farming agreement with insurance or credit [SECTION 9]

Farming Agreement is to be linked with insurance or credit instrument under any Central or State Government Scheme.

Alteration of Termination of farming agreement [SECTION 11]

At any time, the farming agreement can be either altered or terminated with mutual consent of the parties.

Registration Authority [SECTION 12]

State Government may notify a registration authority to provide for an electronic registry for that State that provides facilitative framework for registration of farming agreements.

Dispute Settlement [SECTION 13]

Farming Agreement should provide for a conciliation process and formation of the board of conciliation.

Mechanism for Dispute Resolution [SECTION 14]

Where, the farming agreement does not provide for conciliation process or the parties to the farming agreement fail to settle their dispute under that section within a period of thirty days, then, any such party may approach the concerned Sub-Divisional Magistrate who shall be the Sub-Divisional Authority for deciding the disputes under farming agreements.

Section 14 lays down the process of dispute resolution, please read the Act to understand the detailed process.

Other than the above stated Key Features, the Act consists of a total of 25 Sections which may be read in detail in the following copy of the Act:

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 received Presidential Assent on 26-09-2020.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act,  2020

Which Act will this bill amend?

The Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

Which Sections will the said Bill amend?

Section 3 talks about the Powers to control production, supply, distribution, etc., of essential commodities

(1)―If the Central Government is of opinion that it is necessary or expedient so to do for maintaining or increasing supplies of any essential commodity or for securing their equitable distribution and availability at fair prices, [or for securing any essential commodity for the defence of India or the efficient conduct of military operations], it may, by order, provide for regulating or prohibiting the production, supply and distribution thereof and trade and commerce therein.

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

The gist of the above-introduced amendment:

  • Regulation of Certain food items under extraordinary circumstances.
  • Stock Limit shall be imposed by the Government.

Read the amended Act, here: ACT


Ministry of Law and Justice

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020 received Presidential Assent on 21-09-2020.

The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Act, 2020

Key Features:

AYURVEDA INSTITUTES

It is proposed to conglomerate certain Ayurveda institutes in the campus of Gujarat Ayurved University at Jamnagar, namely,

(i) the Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda;

(ii) Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurved Mahavidyalaya; and

(iii) the Indian Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences (including pharmacy Unit) by establishing them as one institution in the name of the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar and to confer the status of Institution of National Importance on it.

It is also proposed to subsume the Maharshi Patanjali Institute for Yoga and Naturopathy Education and Research into the proposed Institute and establish it as a Department of Swasthvritta.

The Institute will be elevated to the status of Institution of National Importance which will provide autonomy to it to upgrade standards of Ayurveda education, to frame various courses in Ayurveda as per national and international demand and to adopt advanced evaluation methodology.

NATIONAL IMPORTANCE

Conferring the status of Institute of National Importance to the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar will also facilitate :

(a) to develop patterns of teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in Ayurveda and Pharmacy so as to demonstrate a high standard of such medical education to all medical colleges and other allied institutions of Ayurveda in India;

(b) to bring together in one place educational facilities of the highest order for the training of personnel in all important branches of Ayurveda, including Pharmacy;

(c) to attain self-sufficiency in postgraduate education to meet the country’s needs for specialists and medical teachers in Ayurveda; and (d) to make an in-depth study and research in the field of Ayurveda

FUNCTIONS OF THE INSTITUTE

(a) provide for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in Ayurveda, including Pharmacy;

(b) provide facilities for research in the various branches of Ayurveda including Pharmacy;

(c) prescribe courses and curricula for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Ayurveda including Pharmacy;

(d) notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, establish and maintain—

(i) one or more Ayurveda medical colleges with different Departments including Department of Swasthvritta and such other departments as may deemed to be necessary for scientific validation of Ayurveda, implementing Ayurveda principles and theories in public health and further expansion of Ashtanga Ayurveda with the help of modern scientific advances sufficiently staffed and equipped to undertake undergraduate and postgraduate Ayurveda education including Pharmacy;

(ii) one or more well-equipped hospitals;

(iii) colleges for Ayurveda supporting staffs such as nurses, Pharmacists, Panchakarma technicians or therapists and such other allied disciplines of Ayurveda sufficiently staffed and equipped for training such students;

(iv) rural and urban health organisations which will form centres for the field training in Ayurveda and for research into community health problems; and

(v) other institutions for the training of different types of health workers, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and Ayurvedic medical technicians of various kinds;

(e) train teachers for the different Ayurveda colleges in India;

(f) hold examinations (including for admissions) and grant degrees, diplomas and other academic distinctions and titles in undergraduate and postgraduate education in Ayurveda and Pharmacy as may be laid down in the regulations;

(g) institute, and appoint persons to professorships, readerships, lectureships and posts of any description in accordance with regulations;

(h) receive grants from the Government and gifts, donations, benefactions, bequests and transfers of properties, both movable and immovable, from donors, benefactors, testators or transferors, as the case may be;

(i) deal with any property belonging to, or vested in, the Institute in any manner which is considered necessary for promoting the objects specified in section 12;

(j) demand and receive such fees and other charges as may be specified by regulations;

(k) construct quarters for its staff and allot such quarters to the staff in accordance with such regulations as may be made in this behalf;

(l) establish, maintain and manage halls and hostels for the residence of students;

(m) supervise and control the residence and regulate the discipline of students of the Institute and to make arrangements for promoting their health, general welfare and cultural and corporate life;

(n) institute and award fellowships, scholarships, exhibitions, prizes and medals; (o) borrow money, with the prior approval of the Central Government, on the

security of the property of the Institute;

(p) to perform all such things as may be necessary, incidental or conducive to the attainment of all or any of the objects of the Institute.

Read the Act here: ACT


Ministry of Law and Justice

Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 received Presidential assent on 23-09-2020.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Act, 2020

Key Features:

Suspension of Initiation of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process

In light of the extraordinary situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a need was felt to temporarily suspend the initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process under the Code, initially for a period of 6 months not exceeding one year from 25th March, 2020 to provide relief to the companies in order to recover from the financial stress.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated by the president on 05-06-2020 as the Parliament was not in session at that time.

New Section 10 A replacing Sections 7, 9 and 10 [Temporary Suspension]

(a) To insert a new Section 10A in the Code to provide for temporary suspension of Sections 7, 9 and 10 in respect of any default arising on or after 25-03-2020 for a period of six months or such further period, not exceeding one year from such date, as may be notified in this behalf; and

EXPLAINER: Temporary suspension of initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process

Amendment of Section 66

(b) to insert a new sub-section (3), in Section 66 of the Code to provide that no application shall be filed by a resolution professional under sub-section (2), in respect of such default against which initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process is suspended as per Section 10A.

EXPLAINER: Resolution Professional from filing such an application in relation to the defaults for which initiation of CIRP has been prohibited.

Please read the Amended Act here: ACT


Ministry of Law and Justice

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

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Shashi Kant Gupta and Saurabh Shyam Shamshery, JJ., allowed the plea by the wife seeking  the approval of being appointed as the guardian of her husband lying in vegetative state.

The Court while acknowledging the fact that there was no legislative enactment providing appointment of a guardian for a person lying in a comatose state considered the fact that they have been called to discharge ‘parens patriae’ jurisdiction. However under Article 226 of the Constitution of India they can pass orders and given directions as are necessary for subserving the ends of justice when no remedy is provided in any statute in respect to persons lying in comatose condition.

The petitioner had approached the High court praying to be appointed as the guardian of her husband who had been lying in a vegetative state in order to protect his interest and administer his investments, business, bank accounts etc. and utilize them when in need to meet expenses towards medical treatment and family welfare. Petitioner’s Counsel, Bidhan Chandra Rai, submitted that petitioner’s husband had been in comatose state for past one and a half years and the Doctors’ had advised that he would remain so until his eventual demise and now the petitioner has the sole responsibility of meeting the medical expenses and marrying her two daughters. It relied on the decision of the Kerala High Court in the case of Shobha Gopalakrishnan v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC Online Ker 739, whereby a division bench appointed the legal heir of the victim as the guardian, reliance was also placed on the judgment of Delhi High Court, in the case of Vandana Tyagi v. Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, 2020 SCC Online Del 32, which followed the suit.

The Court while allowing the petition further observed the case of Shobha Gopalakrishnan (supra) wherein certain broad guidelines with regard to appointment of guardian qua a person lying in a comatose state were laid, since no specific provision was available in any statute in this regard. The guidelines framed appear to be formidable and sound and, therefore, can be used as framework for formulating guidelines that need to be implemented in the State of Uttar Pradesh till such time, the legislative enactments are framed and specific provisions are made as to how guardians are to be appointed qua persons in a comatose state. [Uma Mittal v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine All 777 , decided on 15-06-2020]