"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents come alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamt yourself to be."
Maharishi Patanjali Yoga Sutra before 2200 years.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill received the President’s assent on the 1st January, 2014. It provides for the establishment of a body of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The law was enacted for effective implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which was ratified by India in May, 2011. It was enacted so that “the Government’s commitment to clean and responsive governance” could be reflected in effective bodies in order to contain and punish acts of corruption.
The Act has however been in cold storage all this while, with the Apex Court chiding the Government over the same in August. Last month, Union Law Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda confirmed the government’s decision to amend the provisions of the Lokpal Act and the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act to do away with the requirement of quorum in the high-profile committees to select the anti-corruption ombudsman and the CBI Director, respectively.
The inclusion of a clause in the statutory provisions dealing with the selection panels would provide a legal safeguard against any challenges on the validity of an appointment.
The Act received President’s assent on 1st January, 2014 to authorize payment and appropriation of certain further sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of the financial year 2013-14
The Act received President’s assent on 1st January, 2014 and authorizes payment and appropriation of certain further sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of the financial year 2013-14 for the purposes of Railways.
The Act received President’s assent on 24th February, 2014 and provides for the withdrawal of certain sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of a part of the financial year 2014-15 for the purposes of Railways.
The Act received President’s assent on 24th February, 2014 and authorizes payment and appropriation of certain further sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of the financial year 2013-14 for the purposes of Railways.
Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill, 2014 received the assent of the President on the 1st March, 2014. The Act carves out a separate state called Telangana comprising 10 districts of the existing state of Andhra Pradesh. The ”appointed day” for the new States’ formation was 02 June 2014.
After the bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh has 11 seats in Rajya Sabha, and Telangana has 7. In Lok Sabha, Andhra Pradesh has 25 seats and Telangana has 17 seats.
Nine petitions were filed in the Supreme Court of India requesting a stay of the tabling of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill in the parliament. The apex Court however, refused to stay tabling of the bill in Parliament, saying that it is not going to interfere at this stage.
In line with the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, the Ministry of Law and Justice gave a green signal to formation of a separate High Court for Andhra Pradesh last month.
According to section 30 of the A.P. Reorganization Act, 2014 (Central Act 6 of 2014) the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad shall be the common High Court for the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh till a separate High Court for the State of Andhra Pradesh is constituted under Article 214 of the Constitution of India etc. and other provisions of the Act
The Act received President’s assent on 4th March, 2014 to authorize payment and appropriation of certain further sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of the financial year 2013-14.
The Act received the President’s assent on 4th March, 2014 to provide for the withdrawal of certain sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of a part of the financial year 2014-15.
The Act received President’s assent on 4th March, 2014 to authorize payment and appropriation of certain further sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of the National Capital Territory of Delhi for the services in respect of the financial year 2013-14.
The Act received the President’s assent on 4th March, 2014. The main objective of this enactment was to protect the livelihood rights of street vendors as well as regulate street vending through demarcation of vending zones, conditions for and restrictions on street vending.
The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) has set a goal of ensuring that the Act is implemented in at least 100 Indian cities by May 2015.
The Standing Committee that looked into the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012, had recommended that only easily accessible documents like voter ID cards or ration cards be required to apply for a street vending permit. Asking for documents that many street vendors may not have will make the process more cumbersome. The recommendation has not been incorporated explicitly in the Act and has been left to the discretion of the respective State Governments.
Additionally, the Committee had recommended that the vending fee should be decided on the basis of the vending occurring – whether it is stationary, mobile or of any other kind – and on the location of vending. The Act however leaves the estimation of the vending fee to the state government.
A provision for renewal of vending certificates once in three years has also been omitted by the Act, leaving it to the whims and caprices of the local authorities. Further, no tenure for Town Vending Committee has been provided for.
A friendly registration process, evenhanded vending fee and fine regime, judicious renewal of vending permits, and transparency in the workings of the Town Vending Committee are also needed. If these measures are accommodated by State Governments during the Act’s implementation, it will contribute to a better balance between the promotion of street vending as a livelihood option and the regulation of this business.
The Act received president’s assent on 4th March, 2014 and amends the Governors (Emoluments, Allowances and Privileges) Act, 1982 by inserting Section 12A according to which an ex-Governor shall, for the remainder of his life, be entitled to secretarial assistance of one Personal Assistant on reimbursement basis. However, he would not be entitled for such secretarial assistance for the period during which he is re-appointed to the office of the Governor or elected to Parliament or the State Legislature or appointed to any office of profit under the Union or a State Government.
The Act received President’s assent on 4th March, 2014, and seeks to amend the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research Act, 2007, repealing The Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur Act, 2004. It amends the Act to include a Third Schedule to incorporate the Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur, West Bengal under it. It also changes the name of the university to the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur.
The Act received the President’s assent on 4th March, 2014 and provides for the establishment and incorporation of a University in the Bundelkhand region for the development of agriculture and for the furtherance of the advancement of learning and pursuit of research in agriculture and allied sciences and declare it to be an institution of national importance.
The key objectives of the university shall be to impart education in different branches of agriculture and allied sciences, undertake research in agriculture, undertake programmes of extension education in Bundelkhand region and promote linkages with national and international educational institutes.
The Act received President’s assent on 4th March, 2014. It was enacted to continue the existing rates of income-tax for the financial year 2014-2015.
Chapter 4 of Part 1 has detailed provisions on tax reliefs including those pension savings, employee share schemes, the seed enterprise investment scheme, venture capital trusts, investment in social enterprises and capital allowances for renovation of business premises. It also contains detailed provisions to tackle the “disguising of employment relationships” through limited liability partnerships.
The Act received President’s assent on 4th March, 2014. It provides for the withdrawal of certain sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of the National Capital Territory of Delhi for the services for a period of six months of the financial year 2014-15.
The Act received President’s asset on 7th March and seeks to amend the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. It adds a new definition of “Central Government factories” and “essential narcotic drug”.
It broadens the definition of “illegally acquired property” to include not just property derived from income out of an illegal act under this law but also the equivalent value of such property. It also includes any property acquired out of earnings whose source cannot be proved. The Act amends the penalty, stating that any person who consumes drugs in contravention of this Act shall be penalized with imprisonment for up to six months or a fine up to Rs 10,000 or both.
The Act received the assent of the President on the 9th May, 2014 and seeks to establish “a mechanism to receive complaints relating to disclosure on any allegation of corruption or willful misuse of power or willful misuse of discretion against any public servant and to inquire or cause an inquiry into such disclosure and to provide adequate safeguards against victimization of the person making such complaint and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.”
Any public servant or any other person including a non-governmental organization may make such a disclosure to the Central or State Vigilance Commission. Every complaint has to include the identity of the complainant. The Vigilance Commission shall not disclose the identity of the complainant except to the head of the department if he deems it necessary.
It aims to balance the need to protect honest officials from undue harassment with protecting persons making a public interest disclosure. It punishes any person making false complaints. However, it does not provide any penalty for victimizing a complainant.
The Act differs on many issues with the proposed Bill of the Law Commission and the 2nd Administrative Reform Commission’s report. These include non-admission of anonymous complaints and lack of penalties for officials who victimize whistleblowers.
The Act received President’s assent on 17th July, 2014 to declare the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (NID) an institution of national importance. NID was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and as an autonomous institution under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950. The Act has now made it a body corporate with the legal status of an Institute. NID can establish Institute campuses at any place within or outside India.
Key powers of NID include providing instruction and training in areas and disciplines related to design; granting degrees in disciplines relating to design; framing, altering, modifying and rescinding Statutes and Ordinances; and acting as a nucleus for interaction between academia and industry. An Arbitral Tribunal shall be established to settle disputes between NID and its employees.
The Act received President’s assent on 17th July, 2014 and seeks to amend the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. It places a bar for a period of two years on the Chairman and the whole time members from accepting any employment either under the Central Government or under any State Government or any appointment in any company in the business of telecommunication services, without the previous approval of the Central Government. It also repeals the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014.
The Act received the President’s assent on 28th July, 2014 and provides for the authorization of appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India to meet the amounts spent on certain services for the purposes of Railways during the financial year ended on the 31st day of March, 2012 in excess of the amounts granted for those services and for that year.
The Act received President’s assent on 28th July, 2014. It authorizes payment and appropriation of certain sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of the financial year 2014-15 for the purposes of Railways.
The Act received President’s assent on 28th July, 2014. It authorizes payment and appropriation of certain sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of the financial year 2014-2015.
The Act received President’s assent on 7th August, 2014 to authorize payment and appropriation of certain sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of the National Capital Territory of Delhi for the services in respect of the financial year 2014-15.
The Act received the President’s assent on 22nd August, 2014, seeking to amend the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992, the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 and the Depositories Act, 1996. It provides for establishment of special courts for speedy trial of offences under the Act, and provides for an appeal to the High Court from the Special Court which will be deemed to be a Court of Sessions.
The Act received President’s assent on 29th November, 2014 to amend the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. The principal Act provides for a three member committee to make recommendations to the Central Government for appointment of the Director. The committee comprises the Prime Minister (Chairperson), the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge nominated by him, and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
The amendment Act amends this provision in relation to the Leader of Opposition. It states that where there is no Leader of Opposition, the Leader of the single largest Opposition Party in that House would be part of the committee. The Act also introduces a provision that states that the appointment of a Director would not be invalid on the grounds of any vacancy or absence of a member of the Committee.
The Act received President’s assent on 5th December, 2014 and amends the Apprentices Act, 1961. The Act amends the definition of appropriate government to include an establishment operating in four or more states to be regulated by the central government. It also amends the definitions of: (i) designated trade, (ii) graduate or technician apprentice, (iii) trade apprentice, (iv) industry and (v) worker. The Act adds two definitions: (i) optional trade, and (ii) portal-site.
The Principal Act sets the minimum age for being engaged as an apprentice at 14 years. The amendment Act adds that the minimum age for apprenticeship in designated trades related to hazardous industries shall be 18 years. The hours of work and leave will be as per the discretion or policy of the employer.
The Act received President’s assent on 8th December, 2014. According to the Statement of Objects and Reasons, the Act provides four existing IIITs, independent statutory status. It declares them as institutes of national importance, to enable them to grant degrees to their students.
The four IIITs are situated in, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and two in Madhya Pradesh. They will aim to: (i) provide instruction in areas concerning information technology and allied fields of knowledge, (ii) conduct research and innovation in information technology, (iii) hold examinations and grant degrees, diplomas and other titles, (iv) create and make appointments to various posts, (v) establish and maintain such infrastructure as may be necessary, etc.
The Act received President’s assent on 9th December, 2014. The Act adds new provisions to the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 to comply with the International Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships, 2001. The Convention is aimed at protecting the marine environment and human health from adverse effects of anti-fouling paints used to coat the ships’ surfaces.
The amendments shall apply to: (i) all Indian ships, wherever they are, (ii) ships operating under the authority of India and (iii) ships entering places where India has exclusive jurisdiction, including ports, shipyards, offshore terminals, territorial waters, Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf. The amendments shall be applicable to shall not apply to any warship, naval auxiliary or other non-commercial ship owned by or operated under the authority of India.
The Act received the President’s assent on 9th December, 2014. It further amends the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 to bring it in conformity with the International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006. The Convention lays down the standards for the living and working conditions of seafarers, including their food, accommodation, medical care, social security, and recruitment.
The amendments regarding the maritime labour standards specified in the Convention shall apply to all seafarers and ships engaged in commercial activities except: (i) ships which navigate exclusively in inland waters, (ii) fishing vessels, (iii) traditionally built ships like dhows and junks and (iv) warships or naval auxiliary ships. The government may extend applicability of these provisions to non- commercial ships on the recommendations of the Directorate General of Shipping.
The Act received President’s assent on 9th December, 2014. It seeks to mend the Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by certain Establishments) Act, 1988. It widens e ambit of the Act to more establishments and adds more laws from which these establishments are to be exempted.
According to the amendment Act, the employer may maintain the returns filed and the registers on a computer, computer disk or other electronic media. Printouts of these records shall have to be made available to the Inspector on demand. The information may also be furnished to the Inspector by electronic mail.
The Act received the President’s assent on 17th December, 2014 and seeks to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Sikkim) Scheduled Castes Order, 1978. It includes certain communities in the list of Scheduled Castes in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Tripura. Article 341 of the Constitution empowers the President to specify castes which will be deemed as Scheduled Castes through a notification. It also empowers Parliament to include or exclude castes from the list of Scheduled Castes in the notification.
The Act received President’s assent on 17th December, 2014 and seeks to amend the Sick Textile Undertakings (Nationalization) Act, 1974 and the Textile Undertakings (Nationalization) Act, 2995, in order to continue with the lease-hold rights vested in the National Textile Corporation on completion of the lease-hold tenure.
The Act received the President’s assent on 17th December, 2014 and seeks to amend the Central Universities Act, 2009. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Act states that it seeks to set up a Central University in Bihar, in addition to the existing one. It states that the large-scale requirement of access to, and quality in, higher education was not being met by just one university in the state. It also changes the name of the existing central university.
It will rename the existing Central University of Bihar, to Central University of South Bihar, as it is located south of the river Ganges. The new Central University will be called Mahatma Gandhi Central University.
The Act received the President’s assent on 18th December, 2014. According to its Statement of Objects and Reasons, the Act seeks to provide three existing SPAs in New Delhi, Bhopal and Vijayawada the status of institutes of national importance. It enables them to grant degrees to their students. The SPA, New Delhi was established in 1959 and conferred with the status of a Deemed University (a high-performing institution declared so by the Centre, under the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, 1956) in 1979. SPAs in Bhopal and Vijayawada were established in 2008.
The Act received the President’s assent on 25th December, 2014. It was enacted to authorize payment and appropriation of certain further sums from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India for the services of the financial year 2014-15.