Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020

Lok Sabha passed the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020 on 21-09-2020 and today i.e. 23-09-2020, Rajya Sabha passed the Bill.

Why has the bill been proposed?

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

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

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

Highlights of the Bill are as follows:

Prohibition to accept foreign contribution [Section 3]

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

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

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

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

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

Registration of certain persons with Central Government

[Section 11]

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

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

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

Grant of Certificate of Registration [Section 12]

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

Mandatory Aadhaar [Section 12 A] [New Section]

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

Suspension of Certificate [Section 13]

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

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

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

Foreign Contribution through Scheduled Bank [Section 17]

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

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

Please read the bill here: BILL


Parliament

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020

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

Why has the bill been proposed?

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

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

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

Highlights of the Bill are as follows:

Prohibition to accept foreign contribution [Section 3]

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

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

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

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

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

Registration of certain persons with Central Government

[Section 11]

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

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

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

Grant of Certificate of Registration [Section 12]

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

Mandatory Aadhaar [Section 12 A] [New Section]

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

Suspension of Certificate [Section 13]

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

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

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

Foreign Contribution through Scheduled Bank [Section 17]

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

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

Please read the bill here: BILL


Lok Sabha

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill 2020 has been passed by Rajya Sabha.

The Bill was earlier passed in Lok Sabha on 19-03-2020. This paves the way to establish a state-of-the-art Ayurvedic institution called the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA) at Jamnagar, Gujarat, and to confer the status of Institution of National Importance (INI) to it.

Purpose of Establishment

The ITRA is sought to be established by conglomerating the presently existing Ayurveda institutes at Gujarat Ayurved University campus Jamnagar. This is a cluster of highly reputed institutions, namely, (a) Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, (b) Shree GulabKunverba Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, and (c) Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences, (d) Maharshi Patanjali Institute for Yoga Naturopathy Education & Research (to be made part of the Department of Swasthvritta of the proposed ITRA). These institutions had come up over the past many decades, and together made a unique family of Ayurveda institutions existing in close proximity.

It is expected that the enactment of the proposal will further provide autonomy to the institute to develop patterns of teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate education in Ayurveda and Pharmacy. The synergies among the different constituent institutions will help ITRA to demonstrate high standards of such education and to emerge as a lighthouse institution to the entire AYUSH Sector. It is expected to provide the highest level of training of personnel in all important branches of Ayurveda including Pharmacy, and to take up in-depth study and research in the field of Ayurveda.

ITRA will be the first institution with INI status in the AYUSH sector, and this will enable the institution to be independent and innovative in the matter of deciding course content and pedagogy. The decision comes at a time when global interest in health solutions based on traditional wisdom is at an unprecedentedly high level and ITRA is poised to take Ayurveda education to new vistas.


Parliament

[Source: PIB]

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

COVID 19Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

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

Which Act will the said Bill amend?

A Bill further to amend the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954.

Which Section will be amended with the passing of this Bill?

Amendment of Section 3

In the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, in section 3, after sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be inserted, namely:—

“(1A) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the salary payable to Members of Parliament under sub-section (1) shall be reduced by thirty per cent for a period of one year commencing from the 1st April, 2020, to meet the exigencies arising out of Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Hence the said bill reduces the salary by 30% for a year.

Read the Bill here: BILL

As per news reports, the said bill has been passed by the Loksabha.


Lok Sabha

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Which Act will the said bill amend?

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and the Act will be called the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Why were amendments needed under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949?

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

How did COVID-19 impact the economic situation?

As the economic situation arising from the COVID-19 pandemic had increased the stress in both co-operative banks and banking companies, there was an immediate need for legislation in this regard.

As Parliament was not in session, the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated by the President of India on the 26th day of June, 2020 under clause (1) of Article 123 of the Constitution.

Salient Features of the Bill:

(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 detailed bill, here: BILL

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed in Lok Sabha on 16-09-2020.


Lok Sabha

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020

Introduction

On 14-09-2020, The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha.

About

Purpose of the said bill was for the regulation and supervision of the assisted reproductive technology clinics and the assisted reproductive technology banks, prevention of misuse, safe and ethical practice of assisted reproductive technology services and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

What is the need to regulate the Assisted Reproductive Technology Services?

The need to regulate the Assisted Reproductive Technology Services is mainly to protect the affected women and children from exploitation.

The oocyte donor needs to be supported by an insurance cover. Multiple embryo implantation needs to be regulated and children born through ART need to be protected. The cryopreservation of sperm, oocytes and embryo by the ART Banks need to be regulated and the proposed legislation intends to make Pre Genetic Implantation Testing mandatory for the benefit of the child born through assisted reproductive technology.

Salient features of the bill are as follows:

(a) to define certain terms like “assisted reproductive technology”, “assisted reproductive technology clinic”, “commissioning couple”, “Woman”, etc.;

(b) to provide that the National Board and the State Board shall be the same Board as proposed in the Surrogacy Bill;

(c) to provide that the existing assisted reproductive technology clinics and the assisted reproductive technology banks, as on the date of the enactment of the proposed legislation, conducting assisted reproductive technology procedures partly or exclusively shall make an application to the Registration Authority within a period of sixty days from the date of establishment of the National Registry;

(d) to provide that the assisted reproductive technology services shall be available to a woman above the legal age of marriage and below the age of fifty years and a man above the legal age of marriage and below the age of fifty-five years;

(e) to provide that an oocyte donor shall be an ever-married woman having at least one live child of her own with a minimum age of three years and to donate oocytes only once in her life and not more than seven oocyte shall be retrieved from the oocyte donor;

(f) to provide that the assisted reproductive technology clinics shall provide professional counselling to commissioning couple and woman about all the implications and chances of success of assisted reproductive technology procedures in the clinic; and they shall also inform the advantages, disadvantages and cost of the procedures, their medical side effects, risks including the risk of multiple pregnancy and any such other matter as may help the commissioning couple to arrive at an informed decision that would most likely be the best for the commissioning couple and woman;

(g) to provide that the assisted reproductive technology clinics and assisted reproductive technology banks shall ensure that commissioning couple, woman and donors of gametes are eligible to avail of assisted reproductive technology procedures;

(h) to provide for offences and penalties for the contravention of its provisions.

Read the detailed bill here: BILL


Lok Sabha

Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by PTI, Lok Sabha passes the Finance Bill, 2020.

Almost more than 40 amendments were introduced to the Finance Bill. The Bill gives effect to the financial proposals of the central government for fiscal 2020-21.

Bill was passed by the House without any discussion.


[Source: PTI]

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