The parliament began its monsoon session from the 18th of July. Thursday was day 17, which was the last day of parliament’s monsoon session. There were about 44 bills in total remaining to be passed, of which some were expected to be introduced during the session. Whereas, some bills were passed by either house and were pending in the other. Thereafter, amid a lot of ruckus, noise and also some serious discussions, the parliament passed a couple of bills in these 17 days.

Following the last day of the parliament’s monsoon sitting, we present to you details of all the bills that the parliament passed. Read everything you need to know about them here, in under a minute each!

Bills Passed by Both Houses

1. The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Introduced: 23rd July, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 30th July, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 9th August, 2018

Source 

Background

This amendment is brought in to force out the irregularities under the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. In 2016, CBI arrested the chief of the CCH (Central Council of Homoeopathy) for accepting a bribe in order to grant an approval to a homoeopathy college. Hence, this bill aims to improve the quality of education in the field of homoeopathy.

Highlights

  • The CCH is to be reconstituted within 1 year from this amendment coming in to force.
  • Until then, a Board of Governors appointed by the government will control homoeopathic education in India. This board will consist of 7 members having eminence in the field of homoeopathy. They will exercise the powers of the council during the interim period.
  • A homeopathic medical college established before passing this bill must obtain permission from the Central Government for recognition status. The college requires permission even if it introduces new courses or increases the capacity of students to a course. If the college fails to do so, it will lose recognition under the Act. 

2. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018

Introduced: 23rd July, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 30th July, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 6th August, 2018

Source

Background

This bill aims at making punishment for rape accused more stringent. It amends the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Highlights

  • The bill increases the minimum punishment for raping a minor girl to 10 years. It was 7 years prior to this amendment.
  • The prescribed punishment for raping a minor girl below 12 years of age is imprisonment of 20 years. In fact, this can transform into life imprisonment or even capital punishment.
  • The prescribed punishment for raping a minor girl below 16 years of age is imprisonment of 20 years. This punishment too can turn into life imprisonment.
  • There is no change in the punishment for rape of boys. This stands at a minimum imprisonment of 7 years.

3. The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Third Amendment) Bill, 2017

Introduced: 5th April, 2017

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 10th April, 2017 and 2nd August, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 31st July, 2017

Source

Background

This bill aims to provide a constitutional status to the NCBC (National Commission for Backward Classes). Earlier, the NCSC (National Commission for Scheduled Castes) catered to the the grievances of the backward classes. The NCSC primarily looks in to the complaints from scheduled castes. Additionally, it also takes care of issues and welfare of backward classes and Anglo Indians. Hence, an this amendment will help recognise the NCBC as a constitutional body.

Highlights

  • NCBC is to be recognised as a body under the constitution. It will be at par with the NCSC.
  • The President will appoint 5 members for the commission.
  • The President will also determine their tenure.
  • The commission will essentially cater to the needs of the backward classes. It will have the powers of a civil court.

4. The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Introduced: 2nd January, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 23rd July, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 26th July, 2018

Source

Background

This bill aims to bring about a change in the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. It covers provisions related to dishonour of cheques. Also, the amendment should speed up trial of cases relating to cheque dishonour.

Highlights

  • In a trial related to cheque bouncing, the court can direct the person who writes the cheque (or the drawer) to pay an interim compensation to the plaintiff. The drawer must pay this compensation even if the latter pleads not guilty.
  • Such compensation is to be an amount not exceeding 20% of the cheque amount. Also, it must be paid within 60 days from the date the court directs the drawer to do so.
  • In case of conviction of the drawer a minimum compensation of 20% of the cheque amount shall be paid to the plaintiff in addition to the interim compensation.
  • Subsequently, if the plaintiff files an appeal and is later acquitted, the court can direct the plaintiff to return the compensation received. This must be paid along with interest within 60 days from the date of the court’s order.

5. The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018

Introduced: 12th March, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 19th July, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 25th July, 2018

Background

The increase in economic offences and frauds led to this bill. This law replaces the ordinance which the government issued in this respect in April. According to the bill, an FEO (Fugitive Economic Offender) is a person who has an arrest warrant on his/her name for an economic offence. Such a person may have fled from the country or refuses to return to avoid prosecution. Also, the value involved in the specified offence may be Rs. 100 crores or more.

Highlights

  • An application containing details of the properties to be attached can be filed with a Special Court. Until the application is in the Special Court, the authorities may provisionally attach the FEO’s properties for 30 days. The attachment may continue for 6 months unless extended by the court.
  • Once the offender is declared as an FEO, the authorities may confiscate his or her properties. The court will appoint an administrator to aid disposal of claims of creditors who have a stake in such a property.
  • The properties will be released if the person is not declared an FEO.
  • The court may disallow the FEO/his or her associate to defend any civil claim pending in a court of law.

6. The National Sports University Bill, 2018

Introduced: 23rd July, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 3rd August, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 9th August, 2018

Background

This bill replaces the ordinance promulgated in May. It aims to set up a National Sports University in Imphal, Manipur to promote sports education.

Highlights

  • The National Sports University will have its headquarters in Manipur.
  • It has the power to conduct researches, training programmes and international collaborations to promote physical education. It can also prescribe courses for study, award degrees and certifications, provide facilities for distance learning and also confer an autonomous status to a college or institution under it.
  • There will be five authorities for the regulation of the University. These will be (1) A court (2) An executive council (3) An academic and activity council (4) A board of sports studies (5) A finance committee.
  • The university may utilise a fund it maintains as per the recommendations of the Finance Committee.

7. The State Bank (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017

Introduced: 21st July, 2017

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 10th August, 2017 and 30th July, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 18th July, 2018

Source

Background

In this case, this bill aims to improve productivity in managing the affairs of banks and to improve customer service by merging 6 subsidiary banks of the SBI (State Bank of India) with it.

Highlights

  • Two Acts namely, the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959 and the State Bank of Hyderabad Act, 1956 will be repealed.
  • These Acts regulated the subsidiaries of SBI. With the passing of this bill, the 5 subsidiaries (Bikaner, Patiala, Mysore, Hyderabad and Travancore) and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank will merge with SBI.
  • It also amended the SBI Act, 1955. This Act will remove references to subsidiary banks.

8. The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Introduced: 18th July, 2017

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 20th December, 2017 and 7th August, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 18th July, 2018

Background

This bill aims to amend the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952. As a result it becomes easier for the government to requisition and use immovable property for national security and defence purposes or other purposes in public interest.

Highlights

  • The government can acquire immovable property of a person for the aforementioned reasons. However, the Government must return the property to the owner in a good condition after the completion of the said purpose.
  • The government may acquire an immovable property two reasons. Firstly, it may acquire it to carry out a construction work, the rights of which must be with the central government. Secondly, the acquisition may happen if the owner refuses to accept the property with being compensated in case the cost of restoration is excess.
  • The owner must be given an opportunity to be heard, after which the government must issue a notice for acquisition. Also, the owner must provide reasons against the acquisition of the property.
  • The bill also allows re-issue of a notice to give the owner an ample opportunity of being heard. This will not apply if the owner is sawarded compensation and if he/she accepts the compensation.
  • Interest will also be payable in case of re-issue of notice at the prevalent rates for fixed deposits offered by the SBI at the relevant time. Enhanced compensation along with interest is also applicable in case of acquisition for national security and defence purposes.

9. The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Introduced: 22nd December, 2017

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 15th March, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 23rd July, 2018

Source

Background

This bill aims to amend the Specific Relief Act, 1963. This Act prescribes remedies to persons whose contractual or civil rights have been violated. So, in case of non performance of a contract by the other party, the affected party can either compel the former to perform the contract (specific performance) or may seek compensation for non performance.

Highlights

  • The said Act limited specific performance. Earlier, the court could direct specific performance in certain cases. This would be when the compensation seemed inadequate or when a value of compensation could not be determined. The bill makes this right of specific performance as unconditional and general.
  • Courts cannot give injunctions in cases related to infrastructure projects if it delays the completion of the said project.
  • Special Courts may be designated to deal with cases related to infrastructure projects. These courts must dispose such cases within 12 months with upto 6 months of extension.
  • The bill has also introduced changes to aid recovery of possession of property by a person put out of possession or a third party through whom possession has been recovered.
  • A new provision for engaging the services of an expert (if required) has been inserted. The terms of payment to the expert will be decided by the court and will be borne by both parties.

10. The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Introduced: 19th August, 2013

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 24th July, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 19th July, 2018

Source

Background

This bill amends the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Moreover this change was required to bring the Act at par with the UNCAC (United Nations Convention against Corruption).

Highlights

  • Offering a bribe has been made a direct punishable offence under the Act as per the bill. Also, a person who reports a bribe within 7 days of being compelled to offer it will not be charged in the crime.
  • The bill redefines criminal misconduct. As a result, it now covers illicit enrichment (owning assets that are not proportionate to one’s income sources) and fraudulent misappropriation of property. Earlier, there were three other types of criminal misconduct – obtaining anything for free or at a concession, habitually taking a bribe and obtaining advantage for oneself by disregarding public interest.
  • The bill includes special provisions with respect to giving bribe to a public servant and bribe given by a commercial organisation.
  • If a public servant commits an offence, prior approval from the government is required for investigation. This is not applicable in case the public servant is caught red handed.
  • The trials under the Act must be completed with a span of 2 years. Additionally, an extension of 6 months is allowed at each time if the said trial is not completed. Under any circumstances, the said time cannot exceed 4 years in aggregate.
  • Earlier the punishment for taking a bribe was a minimum of 6 months, extendable up to 3 years. In fact, the amendment now increases it to a minimum of 3 years, extendable up to 7 years with a fine.

11. The Scheduled Castes and the Schedules Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018

Introduced: 3rd August, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 6th August, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 9th August, 2018

Source

Background

This bill seeks to bring about an amendment in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The Act protects the marginalised from atrocities. Hence, offences against persons belong to the SC and ST communities are tried and rehabilitated under the Act. In March, the Supreme Court passed a judgement over the misuse of the Act. However, the bill passed overturns the said judgement.

Highlights

  • Under the aforementioned Act, the Supreme Court ruled that an approval of the SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police) should be available to arrest a person accused of committing an offence hereunder. Additionally, the Act introduced Anticipatory bail because of the exploitation of the provisions of the Act by persons protected by it.
  • The bill has now reversed the said orders of the Supreme Court. It clarifies that the provision will apply irrespective of any orders or judgements of a court. The Act thus stands reinstated.

12. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018

Introduced: 23rd July, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 31st July, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 10th August, 2018

Background

This bill focuses on real estate projects. People who buy under construction homes in an ongoing real estate project bear the brunt in case the construction company goes bankrupt. They also encounter a whole lot of complications due to delays in completion of the project. Hence, this amendment would provide relief to home buyers and MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).

Highlights

  • The bill will treat home buyers as financial creditors for money advanced by them to buy homes. Thus if the developers become insolvent, buyers can claim a stake in the distribution of assets.
  • They will also get representation in the CoC (Committee of Creditors). This way they will be able to be a part of the decision making processes.
  • Buyers can initiate an insolvency resolution process against developers in the event of them (developers) becoming bankrupt.
  • Prior to the amendment, the percentage of votes required to make a key decision by the committee was 75%. It is now at 66%. It is 51% for making other routine decisions.
  • Also, promoters of MSMEs undergoing an insolvency resolution process can bid for their own enterprise as long as they are not willful defaulters.

13. The National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017

Introduced: 5th April, 2017

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 10th April, 2017 and 9th August, 2018

Passed by the Rajya Sabha: 6th August, 2018

Background

The bill aims to repeal the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. This act established the NCBC (National Commission for Backward Classes). The bill was tabled alongside the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Third Amendment) Bill, 2017.

Highlights

  • As per the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Third Amendment) Bill, 2017 a constitutional status will be provided to the NCBC which will be at par with the NCSCST (National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes). This will cause the aforementioned Act to become redundant.
  • Hence, it will repeal the Act. However, this will not affect the rights, liabilities or privileges acquired, or penalties due to previous actions under the Act.

Overview of Bills Pending in Either House

1. The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Introduced: 23rd July, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 1st August, 2018

This bill amends the Commercial Courts Act, 2015. It aims at improving the ease of doing business ranking for India by allowing commercial courts to adjudicate commercial disputes of a lower value. This creates a positive image, especially among foreign investors about the responsive judiciary system of the country.

The Rajya Sabha heard arguments with respect to this bill today immediately preceding its winding up for the day.

2. Bills related to GST

Introduced: 7th August, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 9th August, 2018

The Lower House passed four bills namely the Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018; the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018; the Union Territory Goods and Service Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Amendment Bill, 2018.

3. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Introduced: 18th July, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 10th August, 2018

This bill amends the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The Act deals with domestic and international arbitration and conciliation proceedings. The bill seeks to establish the ACI (Arbitration Council of India). This will be an independent body for regulating procedures under the Act. It also covers provisions for the composition of the council, appointment of arbitrators, relaxation of time limits for international commercial arbitrations and confidentiality of proceedings.

4. Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018

Introduced: 18th July, 2018

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 26th July, 2018

This bill seeks to strengthen anti trafficking laws. It provides for setting up of the ATB (Anti Trafficking Bureau) at the national level to investigate cases involving trafficking. The bill also defines the functions of the bureau. It also prescribes setting up ATUs (Anti Trafficking Units) at the district levels and Anti Trafficking Relief and Rehabilitation Committees at the national, state and district levels. The designated courts need to complete trials within a span of 1 year. Also, the penalty is a minimum imprisonment of 10 years for aggravated trafficking. This is extendable to life imprisonment accompanied by a minimum fine of Rs. 1 lakh.

5. The Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Introduced: 18th December, 2017

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 9th August, 2018

This bill seeks to amend the Representation of People Act, 1950 and 1951. The Acts cover provisions for conduct of elections, offences and election related disputes. The bill aims to make certain provisions of the Act/s gender neutral and to permit proxy voting in the case of overseas voters.

6. The National Council for Teacher Education(Amendment) Bill, 2017

Introduced: 18th December, 2017

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 23rd July, 2018

This bills aims to amend the National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993. The Act establishes the NCTE (National Council for Teacher Education), a body that regulates the teacher education system throughout India. The changes cover retrospective recognition to certain teacher education institutions and granting permission to start new courses.

7. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017

Introduced: 11th August, 2017

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 18th July, 2018

This bill amends the Right to Education Act, 2009. The Act does not allow detention of children if they fail their exams until they complete elementary education up to class 8. The bill prescribes regular annual examinations in class 5 and class 8. If the student fails, it would require a re-examination. If the child fails the re-examination as well, the central or the state government may decide to allow the school to detain the child.

8. The Muslim Women(Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017

Introduced: 28th December, 2017

Passed by the Lok Sabha: 28th December, 2017

Source

This bill, which is more popularly known as the Triple Talaq bill, aims to render divorce by the uttering of the word ‘Talaq’ as void and illegal. This bill makes such a practice a cognizable and a non-bailable offence. The punishment is an imprisonment of 3 years along with a fine. A woman, who is a victim of this practice, can seek allowance from her husband and custody of their minor children.

Parliament postponed discussions over this bill for hearing until the winter session since there was no consensus around it.

There are about 20 bills which the parliament did not take up for discussion during the monsoon session. In the valedictory address, the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha – Venkaiah Naidu announced that though they had passed more bills during this session than the previous one, he was not happy with the performance. On the other hand Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan wound up saying that this session was more productive than any other session that they have had.

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