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

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of B.P. Dharmadhikari, ACJ and N.R. Borkar, J. while dismissing a writ petition held that,

Union cannot exist without State and States therefore, form important part of consideration when language of Union is to be looked into. Thus, Parliament has in Section 3(5) of Official Language Act, 1963 envisaged resolution of discontinuance of use of English Language.

Petitioners stated that they are registered under the Society Registration Act, 1860 and also are Public Trust as per the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950 with the object of promoting the cause of Hindi language.

Further, they prayed to declare Official Language Act, 1963 unconstitutional or in the alternate to quash and set aside its Section 3(5) as unconstitutional

Counsel for the petitioner, V. V. Khemka stated that the subject of official language was deliberately not included in the 7th Schedule and doesn’t form part of the scheme commencing from Article 246 onwards upto Article 254 of Constitution of India.

Continuation of Official Languages Act, 1963 for the last 57 years is, contrary to Article 343.

Section 3(5) of the Official Language Act, 1963 continues the use of the English language for purposes of Chapter-I gave primacy to legislatures of all States and this treatment or primacy is unconstitutional.

Respondent contended that separate treatment given to official language in Part XVII itself militates the petitioner’s arguments.

High Court on perusal of the contentions placed by the parties, stated that,

Article 343(3) of the Constitution of India permits Parliament to bring a law to permit the use of English beyond the period of 15 years and when the said period was about to expire, Parliament thought it fit to bring into the Official Languages Act, 1963 and Section 3 of the said Act points out the circumstances in which user of English can be discontinued.

Bench stated that as far as Section 3(5) is concerned, it requires resolutions for discontinuance of use of the English language passed by legislatures of all States which have not adopted Hindi as their official language.

Article 345 itself begins with words “Subject to the provisions of articles 346 and 347” and empowers legislature of a State to adopt any one or more of the languages in use in that State or Hindi as the language for official purposes.

In so far as affairs of States are concerned, the States have been given supremacy to decide upon language to be used by them. Article 343 does not in any way interfere with that supremacy. 

Court found nothing unconstitutional in Section 3(5) of the Official Languages Act, 1963. [Rashtrabhasha Mahasangh v. Union of India,  2020 SCC OnLine Bom 417, decided on 12-03-2020]

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

After clearing the passage for some major Bills like Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 now the Winter Session of the parliament is likely to take up the following bills for discussion:

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019, inter alia, provides for the following, namely:—

(i) to omit the proviso to clause (12) of section 5 of the Code so as to clarify that the insolvency commencement date is the date of admission of an application for initiating corporate insolvency resolution process;

(ii) to amend section 7 of the Code to insert certain provisos specifying a minimum threshold for certain classes of financial creditors for initiating insolvency resolution process;

(iii) to amend section 11 of the Code so as to clarify that a corporate debtor should not be prevented from filing an application for initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process against other corporate debtors;

(iv) to amend section 14 of the Code to clarify that a licence, permit, registration, quota, concession, clearances or a similar grant or right cannot be terminated or suspended during the Moratorium period;

(v) to amend section 16 of the Code so as to provide that an insolvency resolution professional should be appointed on the date of admission of the application for initiation of insolvency resolution process;

(vi) to amend section 23 of the Code to enable the “resolution professional” to manage the affairs of the corporate debtor during interim period between the expiry of corporate insolvency resolution process till the appointment of a liquidator;

(vii) to insert a new section 32A so as to provide that the liability of a corporate debtor for an offence committed prior to the commencement of the corporate insolvency resolution process shall cease under certain circumstances;

(viii) to amend section 227 of the Code so as to clarify that the insolvency and liquidation proceedings for financial service providers may be conducted with such modifications and in such manner as may be prescribed; and

(ix) the other amendments which are of consequential in nature.

The proposed legislation intends to amalgamate, simplify and rationalise the relevant provisions of the following nine central labour enactments relating to social security, namely:––

1. The Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923;
2. The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948;
3. The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952;
4. The Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act, 1959;
5. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961;
6. The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972;
7. The Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981;
8. The Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996; and
9. The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019 seeks to —

(a) expand the scope of the Act by modifying the definitions of ‘children’, ‘parents’, ‘maintenance’, ‘welfare’ and ‘senior citizens’, to enable parents and senior citizens to lead a life of dignity;

(b) enlarge the mode of submission of application for maintenance by the parents or senior citizens;

(c) provide for expeditious disposal of maintenance applications with special preference to the applications of senior citizens above eighty years of age, so as to enable parents or senior citizens to receive necessary relief;

(d) remove the upper limit of rupees ten thousand as monthly maintenance amount that may be awarded by the Tribunal;

(e) extend the right to file appeal to children and relatives also who are aggrieved by the order of the Maintenance Tribunal, if they continue to pay the maintenance amount as ordered by the Maintenance Tribunal;

(f) provide for registration of Senior Citizens’ Care Homes, Multi-Service Day Care Centre for Senior Citizens and Institutions providing Homecare Services for Senior Citizens and their minimum standards;

(g) constitute Special Police Unit for Senior Citizens in each district and appoint Nodal Officers for Senior Citizens in every Police Station;

(h) maintain Helpline for senior citizens; and

(i) provide stringent punishment to those who abuse or abandon parents or senior citizens

The proposed legislation seeks to bring a strong and robust data protection framework for India and to set up an Authority for protecting personal data and empowering the citizens’ with rights relating to their personal data ensuring their fundamental right to “privacy and protection of personal data”.

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.

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Parliament passes the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 today.

The Bill has been passed with a majority of 125.


On 10-12-2019, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Lok Sabha with a majority of 311 in favour of the Bill.

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”.

*Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 passed by Lok Sabha


Discussion in Rajya Sabha has begun: [LIVE UPDATES]

  • Amit Shah: There has been an almost 20% decline each in the population of religious minorities in both Pakistan and present-day Bangladesh. Either they were killed or they fled to India for shelter [ANI]
  • Shah says, CAB was in their manifesto and it is their duty to bring it in the House for discussion.
  • No Muslim in India needs to worry due to this Bill. Don’t get scared if someone tries to scare you. — Home Minister
  • Anand Sharma speaks on the Bill in opposition
  • Sharma: It fails the morality test, it is divisive and discriminatory
  • The bill that you have brought is an assault on the very foundation of the Indian constitution, it is an assault on the Republic of India. It hurts the soul of India, Says Sharma [ANI]
  • JP Nadda speaking in favour of Citizenship Bill
  • This Bill is in national interest: Nadda
  • Derek O Brien: I read that PM said this will be written in golden letters. I will tell you where it will be written, it will be written on the grave of the father of the nation, but which father of the nation? In Karachi, on Jinnah’s grave [ANI]
  • RCP Singh, JDU in Rajya Sabha: We support this bill. The bill is very clear, it gives citizenship to persecuted minorities from three of our neigbouring countries, but here debate is being done on our Indian Muslim brothers.[ANI]
  • P. Chidambaram speaks on the Bill.
  • Chidambaram: Ultimately the non-elected people i.e. the lawyers, judges will be deciding on the Bill and it is a question on the Parliament.
  • Chidambaram: This government is ramming through this Bill to advance its Hindutva agenda. This is a sad day. I am absolutely clear that this law will be struck off. [ANI]
  • Sanjay Raut of Shiv Sena speaks on the Bill. “We don’t need to prove our nationalism”
  • Satish Chandra Mishra of BSP Speaks in opposition to the Bill.
  • Praful Patel of NCP is now speaking.
  • Bill is being passed in a hurry -Praful Patel
  • Kapil Sibal speaks on the Bill.
  • Sibal: I request you Home Minister “rise above the politics!”
  • Sibal: They are targeting a community without naming it
  • This Bill is not tenable-Sibal
  • Those who have no idea of India cannot protect the idea of India -Kapil Sibal
  • Sanjay Singh of AAP Party opposes the Bill.
  • D Kupendra Reddy, JD(S): This Bill will be dilution of our secularism policy in this country. I strongly oppose this Bill. I recommend that the Bill be sent to a select committee of Parliament for scrutiny.[ANI]
  • Home Minister: Neither CAB is anti-Muslim, nor abrogation of Article 370 is anti-Muslim, Triple Talaq Bill is not anti-Muslim either. Triple Talaq is the Bill to give rights to crores of Muslim women in the country. [ANI]
  • CAB won’t hurt the citizenship of the Muslims.
  • CAB won’t be referred to Select Committee
Amendments to existing lawsLegislation Updates

With the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union territories) Act, 2019 now both the existing Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu will be formed into —

“Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu”

The said Act received President’s assent on 09-12-2019.

Following are the major heads of the Act:

  • Formation of Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
  • Amendment of Article 240 of Constitution
  • Amendment of the First Schedule to Constitution
  • Allocation of seats in House of People
  • Provisions as to sitting members
  • Extension of jurisdiction of High Court of Bombay
  • Assets and Liabilities
  • Provisions as to Services

*Please follow the link to read the Act: The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union territories) Act, 2019


Ministry of Law and Justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Reading

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

Second Reading

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

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

Third Reading

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

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

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

Reference of Bills to Departmentally Related Standing Committees

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

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

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

BILLS BEFORE A SELECT OR JOINT COMMITTEE

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

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

RESTRICTION ON INTRODUCTION OF CERTAIN CATEGORIES OF BILLS IN RAJYA SABHA

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

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

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

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

CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT BILLS

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

JOINT SITTING

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

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

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

ASSENT TO BILLS

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

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

Hot Off The PressNews

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment introduced a Bill titled “The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019” in the Lok Sabha In order to provide for the protection of rights of transgender persons and their welfare.

The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 05.08.2019 and by the Rajya Sabha on 26.11.2019.

The Ministry had released Rs. 1.00 Crore to National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) for conducting skill development training programme for the members of Transgender Community during the financial year 2018-19. At present, there is no reservation for Transgender persons in public sector employment.

This information was given by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Rattan Lal Kataria in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.


Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

[Source: PIB]

[Press Release dt. 04-12-2019]

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

Rajya Sabha clears passage for the SPG Amendment Bill, 2019 today.

Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is a bill introduced further to amend the Special Protection Group Act, 1988.

Amendment of Section 4

2. In section 4 of the Special Protection Group Act, 1988,—

(i) for sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely:—

“(1) There shall be an armed force of the Union called the Special Protection Group for providing proximate security to,—

(a) the Prime Minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence; and

(b) any former Prime Minister and such members of his immediate family as are residing with him at the residence allotted to him, for a period of five years from the date he ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister.”;

(ii) in sub-section (1A), for clause (b), the following clause shall be substituted, namely:—

“(b) where the proximate security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, such proximate security shall also stand withdrawn from members of immediate family of such former Prime Minister.”

 

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 Lok Sabha passed the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019, after negating all the proposed amendments today.

Read below to know the discussion on the above:

Initiating the debate on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 today in the Lok Sabha, Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah said that SPG shall provide proximate security to the Prime Minister and his immediate family members residing with him at his official residence. The Bill says that family members of a former Prime Minister who reside with him at his allotted accommodation will get security cover of the SPG only for five years, from the date he/she ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister.

Replying to the debate, the Home Minister noted that there is a perception in the country that the amendment in SPG Act is only for the purpose to remove the SPG security cover for the Gandhi family. Contrary to this, the change of the security cover has been done only on the basis of yearly security threat perception review by the government. Such a security review has been a part of the original act, he added.

Shri Shah emphasized that the security cover of the Gandhi family has not been reduced or taken away, rather it has just been changed from SPG cover to Z Plus security cover by the CRPF, along with ASL and ambulance, across the country. The level of the security cover has been maintained and not even one security personnel has been reduced. He also said that the SPG security cover is being formed by the same security personnel who comprise of the Z plus security cover.

Shri Shah informed that based on the recommendations of the Birbal Nath committee report, SPG came into existence in 1985. From 1985 to 1988, SPG was governed by an Executive Order and only in 1988 the SPG Act came into existence to provide security to the Prime Minister and his/her family.

Shri Shah said that the SPG Act was enacted in 1988 to provide for the constitution and regulation of the SPG as an armed force to provide proximate security to the Prime Minister and his/her immediate family members. Amendments to the Act were effected in 1991, 1994, 1999 and 2003 and today a further amendment is being brought to revert back to the original spirit of the Act.

Shri Shah stated that the previous amendments to the 1988 Act have been carried out each time to provide security cover only to one family. According to the original Act, SPG is a specialised force to provide comprehensive security cover to the Prime Minister of the country and not a particular family. SPG doesn’t only provide physical security, but it takes care about protection of Prime Minister’s office, his/her communication systems, foreign tours and issues pertaining to his/her health and well being.

Dismissing the charge of vindictiveness for removal of SPG cover of Gandhi family, Shri Shah stated that such security cover reviews have happened in the past with respect to ex prime ministers, including Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, Shri I.K. Gujaral, Shri Chandra Shekhar, Shri H.D. Deve Gowda and Dr. Manmohan Singh, but there was no such opposition ever when SPG cover was withdrawn. The Home Minister said that the Government is committed to secure each citizen of the country.

Shri Shah further stated that the Modi government never takes decision of providing security cover on the basis of vendetta politics but on scientific threat analysis for a particular individual. He also said that security cover has been provided to members of all political parties based on individual case based threat analysis. Security cover must not be treated as a status symbol by individuals. The security cover meant specifically for the Prime Minister, must not be enjoyed by any other individual. Moreover, the three protectees of the Gandhi family who have been specially mentioned here, have been on many trips without informing SPG, the Home Minister pointed out.

Talking about the rationale behind bringing the amendment, Shri Shah informed the House that in the Act, there is no cut off period for providing the SPG protection to former Prime Ministers or members of their immediate families. Thus, the number of individuals to be provided SPG cover can potentially become quite large. In such a scenario, there can be severe constraint on the resources, training and related infrastructure of SPG. This can also impact the effectiveness of SPG in providing adequate cover to the principle protectee, the Prime Minister in office.

Shri Shah said that the main aim of bringing this amendment is to make SPG more efficient. This would ensure that no omission happens in carrying out its core mandate, as the security of the Prime Minister, as Head of the Government, is of paramount importance for Government, governance and national security. The Bill says that when the proximate security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, such proximate security shall also stand withdrawn from members of his or her immediate family.

*Please follow the link to read the Bill —Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Source: PIB]

[Press Release dt. 27-11-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

List of Bills for the Winter Session:

Hot Off The PressNews

The First Session of the Parliament after the 2019 General Elections, the most productive session in the longest time was conducted. In total 30 Bills have been passed this session in 35 sittings.

Bills passed by both the houses of the Parliament are listed below:

  1. The Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  2. The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  3. The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  4. The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019
  5. The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  6. The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  7. The Aadhar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  8. The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  9. The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  10. The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019
  11. The Appropriation (No. 2) Bill, 2019
  12. The Finance (No. 2) Bill, 2019
  13. The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  14. The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  15. The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019
  16. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019
  17. The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  18. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  19. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  20. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  21. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019
  22. The Codes on Wages, 2019
  23. The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2019
  24. The Airport Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  25. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019
  26. The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019
  27. The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019
  28. The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019
  29. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019.
  30. The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019

Legislations relating to almost all walks of socio and economic activities have been passed. 30 Bills have been passed by both the Houses of Parliament in this Session which is a record in single first/effective Session after the constitution of new Lok Sabha.

Most important business transacted during this Session is the abrogation of certain provisions from Article 370 and Presidential Orders thereunder.  This will ensure equal opportunities to all sections of Society in Jammu & Kashmir particularly with the restoration of applicability of the provisions of the Constitution of India and all socio-economic legislations thereby ensuring rule of law and equity.  Further, for ensuring better administration and for curbing terrorism, the State of Jammu & Kashmir has been reorganized with the formation of two Union Territories – Jammu &Kashmir and Ladakh. 

Case BriefsForeign Courts

“Rule of Law dictates that every act that is not sanctioned by the law and every act that violates the law be struck down as illegal.”

Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: A Seven-Judge Bench comprising of H.N.J. Perera, CJ and Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira J. De Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, Prasanna Jayawardena, Vijith K. Malalgoda and Murdu N. B. Fernando, JJ. hearing a batch of fundamental right applications, unanimously held President Maithripala Sirisena’s November 2018 decision to the Parliament and hold snap elections as unconstitutional, thus ending a seven-week long constitutional crisis.

The island nation had been reeling under political crisis which began on October 26, 2018, when President Sirisena fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Mahinda Rajapaksa, a controversial former President accused of committing serious war crimes. However, when Rajapaksa could not muster a majority in Parliament, Sirisena sacked the legislature two years ahead of schedule.

In the instant petition, Petitioner, a member of the Parliament, prayed for a declaration that President Sirisena’s proclamation dated 09-11-2018 suspending the Parliament infringed his fundamental rights under Article 12(1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. It was contended that the said action was ex facie unlawful and in violation of Article 70 (1) of the Constitution as per which the President expressly prohibited from dissolving Parliament until the expiration of a period not less than four years and six months from the date appointed for its first meeting.

The respondent raised an objection as to the jurisdiction of Court to hear the petitions on the ground that the petitioners had not followed the specific procedure to challenge the abuse of powers by the President, viz., impeachment. The said objection was dismissed for being logically flawed as in view of dissolution, no Parliament existed in which a motion for impeachment could have been brought.

The argument regarding immunity to President’s action was dismissed stating that “the submission that…..President, in his capacity as the Head of State, has a species of inherent unrestricted omnipotent power which is akin to royal prerogative power held by a monarch, has to be emphatically rejected.”

The Court held that President’s power of summoning, proroguing and dissolving Parliament referred to in Article 33(2)(c) of the Constitution could be exercised only in conformity with Article 70 of the Constitution. Article 70 clearly stipulated that the President shall not dissolve Parliament during the first four and a half years from the date of its first meeting unless he is requested to do so by a resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the members of Parliament.

In view of the above, it was held that the impugned proclamation had been issued outside legal limits and violated petitioner’s rights, both in his capacity as a parliamentarian and in the capacity of a citizen. As such, the proclamation was quashed and declared void ab initio.[Rajavarothiam Sampanthan v. Attorney General, 2018 SCC OnLine SL SC 74, decided on 13-12-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Though criminalization in politics is a bitter manifest truth, which is a termite to the citadel of democracy, be that as it may, the Court cannot make the law.

Supreme Court: CJ Dipak Misra delivered the Judgment for the 5-Judge Constitution Bench comprising of himself and R.F. Nariman, A.M. Khanwilkar, Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, JJ. wherein the Court issued certain directions while disposing the petition concerning the question whether disqualification from the membership of the legislature could be laid down by the Court beyond Article 102 (a) to (d) and the law made by the Parliament under Article 102 (e) of the Constitution.

The 3-Judge Bench which originally heard the petition was of the view that the question needs to be addressed by a Constitution Bench. Thus, the present proceedings before the 5-Judge Bench. The petitioners led by Public Interest Foundation submitted that the lawbreakers should not become law makers and there cannot be a paradise for people with criminal antecedents in the Parliament or the State Legislatures. The petitioners were attuned to the principle of presumption of innocence. But they contended that the said principle is confined to criminal law and that any proceeding prior to conviction, such as framing of charge, for instance, can become the basis to entail civil liability or penalty. The petitioners, therefore, took the stand that debarring a person facing charges of serious nature from contesting an election does not lead to creation of an offence and it is merely a restriction which is distinctively civil in nature. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal refuted the submissions and urged that the Parliament to pass a legislation and can only recommend. Further, when there are specific constitutional provisions and the statutory law, the Court should leave it to the Parliament.

The Court was of the clear opinion that it cannot legislate. The Supreme Court, at the outset, perused Articles 102 and 191 of the Constitution and observed it to be clear as crystal that as regards the disqualification for being chosen as a member of either House of Parliament and similarly for a legislative assembly or legislative council of a State, the law has to be made by the Parliament. Reference was made to Lily Thomas v. Union of India, (2013) 7 SCC 653 and the Court was of the opinion that the view expressed therein was correct, for the Parliament has the exclusive jurisdiction to lay down disqualification for membership. It was noted that apart from the grounds of disqualification as mentioned in the said Articles, Parliament has provided certain other grounds under Sections 8, 8-A, 9, 9-A, 10 and 10-A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Apart from these, there are no other disqualifications and, as noticeable, there can be no other ground. Thus, disqualifications are provided on certain and specific grounds by the legislature. In such a state, the legislature is absolutely specific. In the words of the Court, It is clear as moon day and there is no ambiguity. The language of the said provision leaves no room for any new ground to be added or introduced.

On the issue of criminalisation of politics, the Court referred to earlier judgments. Rajya Sabha Reports, Law Commission reports, etc. and further discussed the role of Election Commission with respect to superintendence, direction, and control of elections. It was observed that Election Commission has the plenary power and its view has to be given weightage. That apart, it has power to supervise the conduct of free and fair election. However, the said power has its limitations. The Election Commission has to act in conformity with the law made by the Parliament and it cannot transgress the same. Analysis was also made of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 which deals with allotment classification, choice of symbols by candidates and restriction on the allotment of symbols. Observation of the Court in the matter was that when a candidate has been set up in an election by a particular political party, then such a candidate has a right under sub-clause (3) of Clause 8 to choose the symbol reserved for the respective political party by which he/she has been set up. An analogous duty has also been placed upon the Election Commission to allot to such a candidate the symbol reserved for the political party by which he/she has been set up and to no other candidate.

The Court finally referring to, inter alia, Union of India v. Association for Democratic Reforms, (2002) 5 SCC 294; Resurgence India v. Election Commission of India, (2014) 14 SCC 189; etc. was inclined to say that best available people, as is expected by the democratic system, should not have criminal antecedents and the voters have a right to know about their antecedents, assets and other aspects. In a constitutional democracy, criminalization of politics is an extremely disastrous and lamentable situation. The citizens in a democracy cannot be compelled to stand as silent, deaf and mute spectators to corruption by projecting themselves as helpless. The voters cannot be allowed to resign to their fate. Disclosure of antecedents makes the election a fair one and the exercise of the right of voting by the electorate also gets sanctified. It has to be remembered that such a right is paramount for a democracy. A voter is entitled to have an informed choice.

Keeping the aforesaid in view, the Court issued the following directions:

  • Each contesting candidate shall fill up the form as provided by the Election Commission and the form must contain all the particulars as required therein.
  • It shall state, in bold letters, with regards to the criminal cases pending against the candidate.
  • If a candidate is contesting an election on the ticket of a particular party, he/she is required to inform the party about the criminal cases pending against him/her.
  • The concerned political party shall be obligated to put up on its website the aforesaid information pertaining to candidates having criminal antecedents.
  • The candidate as well as the concerned political party shall issue a declaration in the widely circulated newspapers in the locality about the antecedents of the candidate and also give wide publicity in the electronic media. When we say wide publicity, we mean that the same shall be done at least thrice after filing of the nomination papers.

Furthermore, the Court recommended to the Parliament to bring out a strong law whereby it is mandatory for the political parties to revoke membership of persons against whom charges are framed in heinous and grievous offences and not to set up such persons in elections, both for the Parliament and the State Assemblies. This, in our attentive and plausible view, would go a long way in achieving decriminalisation of politics and usher in an era of immaculate, spotless, unsullied and virtuous constitutional democracy. As stated by the Court, the above directions were issued with immense anguish, for the Election Commission cannot deny a candidate to contest on the symbol of a party. A time has come that the Parliament must make a law to ensure that persons facing serious criminal cases do not enter into the political stream. It is one thing to take cover under the presumption of innocence of the accused but it is equally imperative that persons who enter public life and participate in law making should be above any kind of serious criminal allegation. It is true that false cases are foisted on prospective candidates, but the same can be addressed by the Parliament through appropriate legislation. The writ petition was disposed of accordingly. [Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India, (2019) 3 SCC 224, decided on 25-09-2018]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The 5-judge Constitution Bench comprising of CJ Dipak Misra and R.F. Nariman, A.M. Khanwilkar, Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, JJ., stated that the Supreme Court is not in a position to add a disqualification provision in regard to contesting of elections on the basis of charges framed against the candidates.

The Bench stated that “A time has come that Parliament must make law to ensure that persons facing serious criminal cases do not enter into the political stream.”

The Court also added that “the law making wing of the democracy of this country will take it upon itself to cure the malignancy, as such a malignancy is not incurable.”

Further, several directions have been issued regarding the disclosure of criminal antecedents of the candidates.

Will further update with the detailed judgment.

[Source: https://twitter.com/TheLeaflet_in]

 

 

Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by media, Rajyasabha has passed the Fugitive Economic offender’s Bill, 2018, which was introduced by the Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.

About: The Bill aimed at strengthening the laws dealing with loan defaulters who flee the country. It will replace the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance which was promulgated by the President in April.

[Source: The Hindu]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of CJI Dipak Misra, A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud JJ., addressed the issue of ‘Violence by vigilante groups/cow vigilantism’ today i.e. on 17-07-2018.

CJI Dipak Misra: No citizen can become law unto himself.

Supreme Court while addressing the issue stated that the recent incidents of lynching are ‘horrendous acts of mobocracy’. One of the prominent observations to be noted is that the Apex Court along with issuing series of guidelines on cow vigilantism has asked the Parliament to frame separate offence of lynching with punishment in order to instill fear of the law.

Therefore, by fixing 28-08-2018 as the next date for the further hearing, SC has ordered ‘that no citizen can take law into their own hands. In case of fear and anarchy, the state has to act positively. Violence can’t be allowed’. [Tehseen S. Poonavala v. Union of India, WP(C) No. 754/2016, dated 17-07-2018]

Further details to be updated.

[Source: ANI]