IMPORTANT ACTS AND AMENDMENTS (2019-2020) - Part 1 of 3
During the year 2019-2020, the country witnessed several fresh legal enactments and amendments to the existing laws which were highly controversial in nature since the time they were enacted. Several laws such as Consumer Protection Act, 1986; Payment of Wages Act, 1936; the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965; and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976; Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 are repealed. Whereas, certain new enactments include Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act; Prohibition of e-cigarettes; Code on Wages etc. are enacted for the better uniformity among laws. The list of major Acts and Amendments brought into force in last one year is provided below:
1. THE RIGHT OF CHILDREN TO FREE AND COMPULSORY EDUCATION (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019
The amendment act provides that there shall be a regular examination in the fifth class and in the eighth class at the end of every academic year. If a child fails in the examination referred to in sub-section (1), he shall be given additional instruction and granted opportunity for re-examination within a period of two months from the date of declaration of the result. Appropriate Government may hold back a student only if he fails in re-examination. Provided that the appropriate Government may decide not to hold back a child in any class till the completion of elementary education.
2. THE PERSONAL LAWS (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019
Leprosy is no more a criterion to seek divorce or separation. It seeks to amend five Acts. These are: (i) the Divorce Act, 1869, (ii) the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, (iii) the Special Marriage Act, 1954, (iv) the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and (v) the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956
3. THE CONSTITUTION (ONE HUNDRED AND SECOND AMENDMENT) ACT, 2018
This Constitutional amendment is about giving “constitutional status” to National Commission on Backward Classes. The proposed commission will have a chairperson, vice-chairperson and 3 other members and hear the grievances of socially and educationally backward classes, a function discharged so far by the Scheduled Castes Commission.
4. THE SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019
The Definition of Person now includes, “trust or any entity as may be notified by the Central Government”. A trust or any entity notified by the central government will be eligible to be considered for grant of permission to set up a unit in these zones, which enjoy certain tax and other incentives.
5. THE CONSTITUTION (ONE HUNDRED AND THIRD AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019
This Constitutional Amendment introduces a 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of society for admission to Central Government-run educational institutions and private educational institutions (except for minority educational institutions), and for employment in Central Government jobs.
6. THE DENTISTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019
Under the Act, the composition of the Dental Council of India, State Dental Councils, and Joint State Dental Councils includes representation from dentists registered in Part B (Indian citizens who have been practicing as dentists for at least five years prior to a registration date notified by the state government).
7. THE AADHAAR AND OTHER LAWS (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019
At the time of enrolling a child to obtain an Aadhaar number, the enrolling agency shall seek the consent of his parent or guardian. Aadhar Authority shall check for the entities using their services for authentication purposes. For disclosure of information, permission from Hon’ble High Court is required. Funds to be collected in UIDAI Fund. Courts can take cognizance of cases only when a complaint is registered under UIDAI. UIDAI can now formulate rules for enrolling agencies, requesting agencies, and verification agencies. Penalties – Complaint to authority, Appeal to Telecom Dispute Settlement, and Appellate Tribunal.
8. THE NATIONAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019
The Act seeks to allow the NIA to investigate the following offenses, in addition: (i) human trafficking, (ii) offenses related to counterfeit currency or banknotes, (iii) manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, (iv) cyber-terrorism, and (v) offenses under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908. Also, the officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to an investigation of such offenses, across India. The Central government will constitute Special Courts for the trial of such scheduled offenses.
9. THE MUSLIM WOMEN (PROTECTION OF RIGHTS ON MARRIAGE) ACT, 2019
The Act now makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal. It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce.
Such Muslim man shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine. Allowance and Custody of her minor children shall be determined by the Magistrate.
10. THE COMPANIES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2019
Commencement of business area re-defined. Powers shifted from the National Company Law Tribunal (the "NCLT") to the Central Government. Matters to be stated in the prospectus.
Dematerialization of securities. Also, now any unspent annual CSR funds must be transferred to one of the funds under Schedule 7 of the Act (e.g., PM Relief Fund) within six months of the financial year.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Priyank Kumar Saxena, is a Legal Associate at Mindspright Legal.
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