Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Lok Sabha passed the Aircraft ( Amendment) Bill, 2020 on 17-03-2020.

A Bill further to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934. This Act may be called the Aircraft (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 provides for the following, namely:—

(a) to define the expressions “Directorate General of Civil Aviation”, “Bureau of Civil Aviation Security” and “Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau”;

(b) to empower the Central Government 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;

(c) to empower the Central Government 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 public interest;

(d) to empower the Central Government 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;

(e) to include regulation of all areas of air navigation services;

(f) to empower the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security or any authorised officer to issue directions;

(g) to enhance the maximum limit of fine from the existing ten lakh rupees to one crore rupees;

(h) to appoint designated officers for adjudging penalties;

(i) to provide for compounding of offences;

(j) to keep air craft belonging to any armed forces of the Union other than naval, military or air force outside the purview of the Act.

*To read the Bill, click the link below:

Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020


Lok Sabha

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Companies Amendment Bill, 2020 introduced in Lok Sabha on 17-03-2020.

In view of constant endeavour of the Government to facilitate greater ease of living to law abiding corporates, a Company Law Committee (CLC) consisting of representatives from Ministry, industry chambers, professional institutes and legal fraternity was constituted on the 18th September, 2019, to decriminalise some more provisions of the Act, based on their gravity and to take other concomitant measures to provide further ease of living for corporates in the country. After careful analysis, the CLC submitted its report in November, 2019.

Based on the recommendations of the CLC and 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.

The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020, inter alia, provides for the following, namely:—

(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, certain class of companies from the definition of “listed company”, mainly for listing of debt securities;

(c) to clarify the jurisdiction of 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 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 fifty 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.

*Copy of the Bill — Companies Amendment Bill, 2020


Lok Sabha

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2020 has been passed by the Parliament.

The Lok Sabha had already passed the Bill on 12th December 2019. Speaking after the passing of the Bill, Union HRD Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ thanked the Members of the House for their support in passing the Bill .This bill will convert (i) Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi, (ii) Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi, and (iii) Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati into Central Sanskrit Universities.

Purpose of introducing the Bill:

The upgradation of three Deemed to be Universities in Sanskrit, namely, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Delhi, Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Triputi into Central Universities through the Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019 would enhance the status of these Universities and will give a boost to Post Graduate, Doctoral and Post Doctoral education and Research in the field of Sanskrit and Shastraic education. It would help in getting better faculty, attract foreign students, Sanskrit scholars, foreign faculty of international repute and help in international collaborations with global Universities across the world. This will also help in enhancing the opportunities for imparting education in the field of Indian Philosophy, Yoga, Ayurveda and Naturopathy

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 introduced in Lok Sabha with a view to provide for regulation, operation and planning of Major Ports in India and to vest the administration, control and management of such ports upon the Boards of Major Port Authorities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Why was it enacted?

The Major Port Trusts Act was enacted in the year 1963 for constitution of port authorities for certain Major Ports in India and to vest the administration, control and management of such ports in such authorities and for matters connected therewith.

To provide greater autonomy,flexibilitytotheMajorPorts and to professionalise their governance, it is proposed to repeal the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 and to replace it with new legislation, namely, the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 which, inter alia, provides for the following, namely:—

(i) to constitute the Board of Major Port Authority for each Major Port in place of the Board of Trustees which shall consist of a Chairperson, a Deputy Chairperson, one Member each from the (a) concerned State Government in which the Major Port is situated; (b) Ministry of Railways; (c) Ministry of Defence; (d) Customs, Department of Revenue. Besides these, (a) independent Members not less than two and not exceeding four; (b) one Member not below the rank of Director nominated by the Central Government; and (c) two Members representing the interest of the employees of the Major Port Authority, shall also be Members of the Board;

(ii) to enable the Board of Major Port Authority—

(a) to use its property, assets and funds in such manner and for such purposes as it may deem fit for the benefit of the Major Port;

(b) to enter into and perform any contract necessary for the performance of its functions under the proposed legislation;

(c) to create master plan for development of any infrastructure within the port limits; and

(d) to make regulations for the purpose of operations, development and planning of the Major Ports;

(iii) to empower the Central Government to take over the management of the Major Port Authority in certain circumstances and to issue directions to every Major Port Authority on matters of policy;

(iv) to constitute an Adjudicatory Board for adjudication of disputes among Major Ports, Public Private Partnership concessionaires and captive users. This Adjudicatory Board shall consist of a Presiding Officer and two other Members, as may be appointed by the Central Government; and

(v) to make a provision for Corporate Social Responsibility measures by the Major Ports for its employees, customers, business partners, NGOs and society at large.

Copy of the Bill: Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020


Lok Sabha

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Lok Sabha passes the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2020 on 06-03-2020.

Series of amendments have been laid down in the said Bill.

One of the significant insertions that have been brought in the Bill is

Insertion of new Section 32 A

After Section 32 of the principal Act, the following section shall be inserted, namely:—

“32A. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Code or any other law for the time being in force, the liability of a corporate debtor for an offence committed prior to the commencement of the corporate insolvency resolution process shall cease, and the corporate debtor shall not be prosecuted for such an offence from the date the resolution plan has been approved by the Adjudicating Authority under section 31, if the resolution plan results in the change in the management or control of the corporate debtor to a person who was not—

(a) a promoter or in the management or control of the corporate debtor or 40 a related party of such a person; or

(b) a person with regard to whom the relevant investigating authority has, on the basis of material in its possession, reason to believe that he had abetted or conspired for the commission of the offence, and has submitted or filed a report or a complaint to the relevant statutory authority or Court:

Provided that if a prosecution had been instituted during the corporate insolvency resolution process against such corporate debtor, it shall stand discharged from the date of approval of the resolution plan subject to requirements of this sub-section having been fulfilled:

Provided further that every person who was a “designated partner” as defined in clause (j) of section 2 of the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008, or an “officer who is in default”, as defined in clause (60) of section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013, or was in any manner incharge of, or responsible to the corporate debtor for the conduct of its business or associated with the corporate debtor in any manner and who was directly or indirectly involved in the commission of such offence as per the report submitted or complaint filed by the investigating authority, shall continue to be liable to be prosecuted and punished for such an offence committed by the corporate debtor notwithstanding that the corporate debtor’s liability has ceased under this sub-section.

(2) No action shall be taken against the property of the corporate debtor in relation to an offence committed prior to the commencement of the corporate insolvency resolution process of the corporate debtor, where such property is covered under a resolution plan approved by the Adjudicating Authority under section 31, which results in the change in control of the corporate debtor to a person, or sale of liquidation assets under the provisions of Chapter III of Part II of this Code to a person, who was not—

(i) a promoter or in the management or control of the corporate debtor or a related party of such a person; or

(ii) a person with regard to whom the relevant investigating authority has, on the basis of material in its possession reason to believe that he had abetted or conspired for the commission of the offence, and has submitted or filed a report or a complaint to the relevant statutory authority or Court.

“Explanation.—For the purposes of this sub-section, it is hereby clarified that,—

(i) an action against the property of the corporate debtor in relation to an offence shall include the attachment, seizure, retention or confiscation of such property under such law as may be applicable to the corporate debtor;

(ii) nothing in this sub-section shall be construed to bar an action against the property of any person, other than the corporate debtor or a person who has acquired such property through corporate insolvency resolution process or liquidation process under this Code and fulfils the requirements specified in this section, against whom such an action may be taken under such law as may be applicable.

(3) Subject to the provisions contained in sub-sections (1) and (2), and notwithstanding the immunity given in this section, the corporate debtor and any person who may be required to provide assistance under such law as may be applicable to such corporate debtor or person, shall extend all assistance and co-operation to any authority investigating an offence committed prior to the commencement of the corporate insolvency resolution process.”.

To read all the other amendments that have been introduced in the bill, please read the detailed notification laid down by clicking on the link below:

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2020

With the above bill being passed, the ordinance of 2019 will be repealed.


Also Read:


Lok Sabha

[Notification dt. 06-03-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

The ‘Vivad se Vishwas’ Scheme was announced during the Union Budget, 2020, to provide for dispute resolution in respect of pending income tax litigation.

Pursuant to the Budget announcement, the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020 (hereinafter called Vivad se Vishwas) was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 05-02-2020 and passed by it on 4th of March, 2020. The objective of Vivad se Vishwas is to inter alia reduce pending income tax litigation, generate timely revenue for the Government and benefit taxpayers by providing them peace of mind, certainty and savings on account of time and resources that would otherwise be spent on the long-drawn and vexatious litigation process. Subsequently, based on the representations received from the stakeholders regarding its various provisions, official amendments to Vivad se Vishwas have been proposed. These amendments seek to widen the scope of Vivad se Vishwas and reduce the compliance burden on taxpayers.

After the introduction of Vivad se Vishwas in Lok Sabha, several queries have been received from the stakeholders seeking clarifications in respect of various provisions contained in the Scheme. After considering various queries received from stakeholders, CBDT has clarified the same in the form of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) vide Circular No.7/2020 dated 04.03.2020. The FAQs contain clarifications on scope/eligibility, calculation of disputed tax, procedure related to payment of disputed tax and consequential benefits to the declarant.

These FAQs are available on the official website of the Income Tax Department at :

https://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/communications/circular/circular_no_7_2020.pdf.

It is reiterated that these clarifications are, however, subject to approval and passing of Vivad se Vishwas by the Parliament and receiving assent of the Hon’ble President of India.


Ministry of Finance

[Source: PIB]

[Press Release dt. 05-03-2020]

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam on 05-02-2020.

A bill to provide for the resolution of disputed tax and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

This will not only benefit the Government by generating timely revenue but also the taxpayers who will be able to deploy the time, energy and resources saved by opting for such dispute resolution towards their business activities.

The Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020 for dispute resolution related to direct taxes provides for the following, namely:—

(a) The provisions of the Bill shall be applicable to appeals filed by taxpayers or the Government, which are pending with the Commissioner (Appeals), Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court as on the 31st day of January, 2020
irrespective of whether demand in such cases is pending or has been paid;

(b) the pending appeal may be against disputed tax, interest or penalty in relation to an assessment or reassessment order or against disputed interest, disputed fees where there is no disputed tax. Further, the appeal may also be against the tax determined on defaults in respect of tax deducted at source or tax collected at source;

(c) in appeals related to disputed tax, the declarant shall only pay the whole of the disputed tax if the payment is made before the 31st day of March, 2020 and for the payments made after the 31st day of March, 2020 but on or before the date notified by Central Government, the amount payable shall be increased by 10 per cent of disputed tax;

(d) in appeals related to disputed penalty, disputed interest or disputed fee, the amount payable by the declarant shall be 25 per cent. of the disputed penalty, disputed interest or disputed fee, as the case may be, if the payment is made on or before the 31st day of March, 2020. If payment is made after the 31st day of March, 2020 but on or before the date notified by Central Government, the amount payable shall be increased to 30 per cent. of the disputed penalty, disputed interest or disputed fee, as the case may be.


To read the Bill, Please click on the link below:

The Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 04-02-2020.

A Bill further to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934. This Act may be called the Aircraft (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 provides for the following, namely:—

(a) to define the expressions “Directorate General of Civil Aviation”, “Bureau of Civil Aviation Security” and “Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau”;

(b) to empower the Central Government 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;

(c) to empower the Central Government 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 public interest;

(d) to empower the Central Government 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;

(e) to include regulation of all areas of air navigation services;

(f) to empower the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security or any authorised officer to issue directions;

(g) to enhance the maximum limit of fine from the existing ten lakh rupees to one crore rupees;

(h) to appoint designated officers for adjudging penalties;

(i) to provide for compounding of offences;

(j) to keep air craft belonging to any armed forces of the Union other than naval, military or air force outside the purview of the Act.


Please read the Bill here:  The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Hot Off The PressNews

Winter Session of the Lok Sabha adjourns sine die with few major bills being passed.

As reported by PTI, An apology was demanded by Rahul Gandhi on his rape remarks, also opposition members were also heard shouting slogans such as ‘we want justice’ and demanded that Gandhi should be given a chance to respond.

Bills from Taxation (Amendment) bill, 2019 to Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 have all been passed by the Lok Sabha in this Winter Session.

 

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Lok Sabha passed the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on 09-12-2019.

The Bill seeks to enhance the punishment for existing offences like illegal manufacture, sale, transfer, etc.; illegal acquiring, possessing or carrying prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition; and illegal manufacture, sale, transfer, conversion, import, export, etc., of firearms.

It also proposes to define new offences and prescribing punishment for them, such as for taking away firearms from police or armed forces, involvement in organized crime syndicate, illicit trafficking including smuggled firearms of foreign make or prohibited arms and prohibited ammunition, use of firearms in rash and negligent manner in celebratory gunfire endangering human life, etc. Further, the Bill seeks to enhance the period of arms license from three years to five years and also to issue arms license in its electronic form to prevent forgery.

The Amendment assumes significance in recent times as Law enforcement agencies have indicated growing nexus between possession of illegal firearms and commission of criminal offences. With the advancement in technology, the fire power and sophistication of illegal firearms have increased significance over the years. The trans-border dimensions of illegal arms trafficking are causing threat to internal security and to prevent the usage of illicit firearms so trafficked has also become a prime concern. To effectively curb crimes related to or committed by using illegal firearms and to provide effective deterrence against violation of law, there is an urgent need to strengthen the existing legislative framework by making appropriate amendments in the Arms Act, 1959. Simultaneously, there is also a requirement for rationalizing and facilitating the licensing procedures for use of firearms by individuals and sports persons.

Allaying fears regarding Union government stepping into State governments’ domain by amending this Act, Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah said that the Bill did not usurp the rights of states because in India’s Constitution, Arms, firearms and explosives are in the Union List. He added that regulation of firearms is essential for a law abiding, peaceful society.

Shri Shah assured the House that the licenses and arms ownership of sportspersons would not be adversely affected because of the Bill and added that in fact the number and types of weapons allowed for sportspersons has been increased. He also remarked that provisions related to ownership of arms by retired and serving personnel of armed forces remains unaffected by the Amendment.

Speaking on the enhanced punishment under the Amendment, Shri Shah said that prison sentence for illicit trafficking of firearms and ammunition including smuggled firearms of foreign make or prohibited bore had been increased to prison time between 10 years to life imprisonment. Shri Shah said that the theft of weapons from police or armed forces would carry a punishment of 10 years to life imprisonment; illegal manufacturing, sale, conversion, repair, import/export would attract 7 years to life imprisonment; acquiring, possessing, carrying prohibited arms and ammunition to get 7 to 14 years imprisonment; involvement in organized crime syndicate would all henceforth carry the punishment of 10 years to life imprisonment. He also said that involvement in negligent and rash use of firearms or in celebratory firing endangering human life, would attract a fine of Rs. 1,00,000 or imprisonment for 2 years or both.


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 09-12-2019]

[Source: PIB]

Hot Off The PressNews

In line with the recommendations of the Second National Commission on Labour, the Ministry has taken steps for drafting four Labour Codes i.e. the Code on Wages; the Code on Industrial Relations, the Code on Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions & the Code on Social Security by simplifying, amalgamating and rationalizing the relevant provisions of the existing Central Labour Laws. Out of these 4 Labour Codes, the Code on Wages, 2019, has been notified on 8th August, 2019 in the Gazette of India. The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 23rd July, 2019 and subsequently, referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour for examination. The Industrial Relations Code, 2019 has been introduced in Lok Sabha on 28th November, 2019. The Code on Social Security, 2019 has been approved by the Cabinet for its introduction in Parliament.

These Labour Codes, inter-alia, address issues relating to minimum wage, social security and working conditions for workers.  For health care, Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) provides health coverage up to Rs. 5.00 lakh per family per annum to around 10.74 crore deprived families based on the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

The proposed codification will also make the existing labour laws in sync with the emerging economic scenario; reduce the complexity by providing uniform definitions and reduction in multiple authorities under various Acts and bring transparency and accountability in enforcement of labour laws. This, in turn, would lead to ease of compliance, catalyzing the setting up of manufacturing units including boosting Labour-intensive industries such as agriculture and manufacturing exports. This would lead to enhancement in employment opportunities as well as its formalization along with ensuring safety, social security and welfare of workers.

This information was given by Santosh Kumar Gangwar Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.


Ministry of Labour & Employment

[Source: PIB]

Hot Off The PressNews

10-12-2019: After almost a 6-hour long debate in Lok Sabha on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, it has been passed with a majority of 311 in favour of the Bill and the passage for the bill has been cleared to move ahead past midnight.


[09-12-2019]

Home Minister, Amit Shah has tabled the — Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Lok Sabha for discussion.

Following are provisions to be amended as placed in the Bill:

  • Amendment of Section 2:

In the Citizenship Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), in section 2, in sub-section (1), in clause (b), the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:—

“Provided that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and who has been exempted by the
Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act.”

  • Insertion of new Section 6B

Special provisions as to the citizenship of person covered by the proviso to clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 2.

  • Amendment of Section 7D

In section 7D of the principal Act,—

(i) after clause (d), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:—

“(da) the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder has violated any of the provisions of this Act or provisions of any other law for time being in force as may be specified by the Central Government in the notification published in the Official Gazette; or”.

(ii) after clause (f), the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:—

“Provided that no order under this section shall be passed unless the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard.”

  • Amendment of Section 18

In section 18 of the principal Act, in sub-section (2), after clause (ee), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:—

“(eei) the conditions, restrictions and manner for granting certificate of registration or certificate of naturalisation under sub-section (1) of section 6B;”

  • Amendment of Third Schedule

In the Third Schedule to the principal Act, in clause (d), the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:—

‘Provided that for the person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, the aggregate period of residence or service of Government in India as required under this clause shall be read as “not less than five years” in place of “not less than eleven years”.


Debate in Lok Sabha has begun: [LIVE UPDATES]

  • Home Minister requests the opposition to not “walkout”.
  • Debate on merit and not the content of the Bill — Says Shah
  • Citizenship Bill is not against the minorities: Home Minister
  • Muslim Community not named in the Bill– Says Amit Shah
  • Congress says its a “regressive legislation”
  • Home Ministers says: The Bill is not against any religion.
  • Shashi Tharoor: Bill an assault on foundation values of our Republic
  • Congress: Amendment violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India
  • Home Minister says, Bill doesn’t contradict any Article of the Constitution of India
  • Voting to decide if the Bill can be introduced or not? The majority says — “Yes” for the introduction of the Bill; Detailed discussion on the Bill will start now.
  • Home Minister: No Political agenda behind the Bill
  • No one will be deprived of any rights: Amit Shah
  • HM Amit Shah: In 1947, all refugees which came in, all were accepted by the Indian constitution, there would hardly be any region of the country where refugees from West and East Pakistan didn’t settle. From Manmohan Singh ji to LK Advani ji, all belong to this category. [Source: ANI]
  • Manipur to be brought under “inner line permit system” says Shah (Home Min.)
  • This Bill will not apply to Arunachal Pradesh: Amit Shah.
  • Manish Tewari, Congress in Lok Sabha: This is against Article 14, Article 15, Article 21, Articles 25 and 26 of the Indian constitution. This bill is unconstitutional and against the basic right of equality [Source: ANI]
  • Owaisi tears copy of CAB in Parliament, says it tries to divide India [Source: ANI]
  • We will rescue persecuted minorities say Shah responding oppn. parties.
  • This Bill comes under reasonable classification: Amit Shah
  • This Bill does not concern Muslims at all: Home Minister
  • There is a difference between a refugee and an infiltrator. Those who come here due to persecution, to save their religion & the honour of the women of their family, they are refugees and those who come here illegally are infiltrators. [ANI]
  • The North-Eastern States need not worry – Shah
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.

Cabinet DecisionsLegislation Updates

As per the reports of ANI, the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 has been approved by the Union Cabinet.

It is said that it will be introduced in the Winter Session of Parliament.

Provisions that would be introduced for further discussion in the Parliament and have been incorporated in the bill are as follows:

  • In the Citizenship Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), in section 2, in sub-section (1), after clause (b), the following provisos shall be inserted, namely:—

“Provided that persons belonging to minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who have been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub- section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of that Act:

Provided further that on and from the date of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, any proceeding pending against any person referred to in the first proviso shall be abated and such person shall be eligible to apply for naturalisation under Section 6.”

  • In the principal Act, in section 7D,—

(i) after clause (d), the following clause shall be inserted namely:—

“(da) the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder has violated any of the provisions of this Act or provisions of any other law for the time being in force as may be specified by the Central Government by notification published in the Official Gazette; or”;

(ii) after clause (f), the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:—

“Provided that no order under this section shall be passed unless the Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard.”

  • In the principal Act, in the Third Schedule, in clause (d), the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:—

“Provided that for the persons belonging to minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the aggregate period of residence or service of a Government in India as required under this clause shall be read as “not less than six years” in place of “not less than eleven years”.

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Lok Sabha passed the Taxation Amendment Bill, 2019 on Lok Sabha on 02-12-2019.

Corporate Tax Rates slashed to be slashed to 22% for domestic companies and 15% for new domestic manufacturing companies, according to the said bill.

List of amendments:

  • Section 92 BA
  • Section 115 BA
  • Insertion of Sections 115 BAA [Tax on income of certain domestic companies] & Sections 115 BAB [Tax on income of certain new domestic manufacturing companies]
  • Section 115 JB
  • Section 115 QA
  • Amendment of Act No. 23 of 2019
  • Amendment of Part II of First Schedule

*Please find the link for the Bill here: Taxation Amendment Bill, 2019


Additional Information with respect to the amendments issued earlier by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman:

Salient features of the amendments made by the Ordinance are provided in the following paras:

In order to promote growth and investment, a new provision was inserted in the IT Act to provide that with effect from the current financial year 2019-20, an existing domestic company may opt to pay tax at 22% plus surcharge at 10% and cess at 4%, if it does not claim any incentive/deduction. The effective tax rate for these companies comes to 25.17% for these companies. They would also not be subjected to Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).

In order to attract fresh investment in manufacturing and provide boost to ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government, another provision was inserted to the IT Act, to provide that a domestic manufacturing company set up on or after 1st October, 2019 and which commences manufacturing by 31st March, 2023, may opt to pay tax at 15% plus surcharge at 10% and cess at 4% if it does not claim any incentive/deduction. The effective rate of tax comes to 17.16% for these companies. They would also not be subjected to MAT.

A company that does not opt for the concessional tax regime and avails the tax exemption/incentive shall continue to pay tax at the pre-amended rate. However, these companies can opt for the concessional tax regime after the expiry of their tax holiday/exemption period. After the exercise of the option, they shall be liable to pay tax at the rate of 22%. Further, in order to provide relief to companies which continue to avail exemptions/incentive, the rate of MAT was reduced from existing 18.5% to 15%.

In order to provide relief to listed companies, the buy-back tax on shares of listed companies introduced through the Finance Act will not apply to buy-backs in respect of which public announcement were made before 5th July, 2019.

In order to stabilise the flow of funds into the capital market, it was provided that the enhanced surcharge introduced through the Finance Act on capital gains arising on account of transfer of listed equity share or certain units that are liable to securities transaction tax will not apply. Further, it was also provided that the enhanced surcharge will not apply to capital gains income of FPIs arising out of the transfer of any security including derivatives, having a concessional tax regime.

Hot Off The PressNews

Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad made a statement with respect to the “Reported Use of Spyware Pegasus to Compromise Phone Data of Some Persons through WhatsApp” as raised by the Minister of Parliament Digvijay Singh.

On 31-10-2019, there was news in Indian media reporting breach of data of few Indians via WhatsApp through spyware named Pegasus developed and marketed by an Israel based company namely NSO. The news also reported about a lawsuit filed by WhatsApp on 31-10-2019 in a Court at California, USA alleging that the Israeli NSO Group had targeted some 1,400 WhatsApp users globally with this spyware and had violated US and California laws as well as WhatsApp’s terms-of-service. The news report conveyed that more than 100 persons in India might have been affected by this Spyware. It has also been alleged by WhatsApp in their submission filed before the Court that the NSO Group has sold Pegasus spyware to government and private agencies.

In this matter, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) took cognizance of the news reports and sought a report from the WhatsApp through an email sent to them on 1st November and seeking WhatsApp response by 4th November. WhatsApp sent a mail on 2nd November 2019 communicating the aspects relating to the exploitation of a vulnerability in their platform by spyware called Pegasus, developed by Israeli agency named NSO. As per WhatsApp, they had communicated this vulnerability to CERT-In on 20-05-2019 after it was detected and fixed in mid-May 2019.

As per WhatsApp, Pegasus was designed to be installed remotely on mobile devices using the Android, iOS, and BlackBerry operating systems. The NSO/Pegasus exploited vulnerabilities in operating systems and applications and used other malware delivery methods, like spear-phishing messages containing links to malicious code. According to media reports Pegasus could be surreptitiously installed on a victim’s phone without the victim taking any action.

“The Supreme Court has upheld privacy as a fundamental right. But the Supreme Court has also stated that a terrorist has no right to privacy; and the Supreme Court in the same judgment has also stated that a corrupt person has no right to privacy. Therefore, that is our Government’s commitment to the freedom of speech and expression on social media. Technology has brought empowerment. We need to understand that. But while technology creates opportunity, technology also creates challenges, and this privacy was the first challenge which the Supreme Court has already held. But, one thing we all need to understand. We all work under the overarching system of our Constitution where fundamental right freedoms are there, but, it is also subject to reasonable restrictions. Article 19(2) to (6) clearly says that in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign country, these can be reasonably controlled”.

“It is a coincidence that when the Government of India is pressing for traceability of offensive messages, America, Australia and England are joining that battle. Then suddenly a case is filed. We have not been given any name till date. We have given notice to CERT-In and sent a notice to them again. They have expressed their regret. We have said that we will audit your entire processes. We have also sent a notice to the NSO. A fight is going on in the US between The NSO and Whats App. It is their private battle where coincidentally names have come, including some of Indians.

The I.T. Act has a provision in which anyone can complain if he wants. Which has a fine of five lakh and a provision of three years’ imprisonment. Not even a single FIR has been filed till date. No complaint is made in the IT Ministry till date by anyone. But suddenly we find that the names come in the media and thereafter it becomes a political issue.

WhatsApp has not given us 121 names yet. Our view is very clear that whoever has a complaint, should file a case. The Government of India will help in that inquiry. But Government should not be involved into any phishing inquiry.


Rajya Sabha

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Lok Sabha passed the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019.

Purpose of the Bill

It provides special provisions for the National Capital Territory of Delhi for recognising the property rights of resident in unauthorised colonies by securing the rights of ownership or transfer or mortgage in favour of the residents of such colonies
who are possessing properties on the basis of Power of Attorney, Agreement to Sale, Will, possession letter or any other documents including documents evidencing payment of consideration and for the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Few of the important definition laid down under the bill are:

  • “resident” means a person having physical possession of property on the basis of a registered sale deed or latest Power of Attorney, Agreement to Sale, Will, possession letter and other documents including documents evidencing payment of consideration in respect of a property in unauthorised colonies and includes their legal heirs but does not include tenant, licensee or permissive user.
  • “unauthorised colony” means a colony or development comprising of a contiguous area, where no permission has been obtained for approval of layout plan or building plans and has been identified for regularisation of such colony in pursuance to the notification number S.O. 683(E), dated the 24-03-2008 of the Delhi Development Authority, published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (ii), dated the 24-03- 2008.

*Please follow the link to read the bill — National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019.

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha and is underway for discussion.

Purpose of the Bill

It is proposed to amend the Arms Act, 1959. Accordingly, a Bill, namely, the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019, has been, inter-alia proposed—

(i) to define new offences and prescribing punishment for them, such as for taking away firearms from police or armed forces, involvement in organised crime syndicate, illicit trafficking including smuggled firearms of foreign make or prohibited arms and prohibited ammunition, use of firearms in a rash and negligent manner in celebratory gunfire endangering Human life, etc.;

(ii) to enhance the punishment for existing offences like illegal manufacture, sale, transfer, etc.; illegal acquiring, possessing or carrying prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition; and illegal manufacture, sale, transfer, conversion, import, export, etc., of firearms; and

(iii) to enhance the period of arms licence from three years to five years and also to issue arms licence in its electronic form.

*Please follow the link to read the Bill — THE ARMS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Parliament passes the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019.

Purpose of the bill is — to prohibit the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement of electronic cigarettes in the interest of public health to protect the people from harm and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Lets us read a few definitions as stated in the bill:

  • “advertisement” means any audio or visual publicity, representation or pronouncement made by means of any light, sound, smoke, gas, print, electronic media, internet or website or social media and includes through any notice, circular, label, wrapper, invoice or other document or device;
  • “distribution” includes distribution by way of samples, whether free or otherwise and the expression “distribute” shall be construed accordingly
  •  “electronic cigarette” means an electronic device that heats a substance, with or without nicotine and flavours, to create an aerosol for inhalation and includes 15all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, Heat Not Burn Products, e-Hookah and the like devices, by whatever name called and whatever shape, size or form it may have, but does not include any product licensed under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

*Please follow the link to read the Bill — The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Bill, 2019.