The year 2019 saw Indian lawmakers in both Houses of Parliament
giving the country’s people some important laws and reforms. Business Standard lists the biggest and most crucial Bills that became laws in 2019:
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
Protestors participate in a demonstration against Citizenship (Amendment) Act, after Friday prayers, at Jama Masjid in New Delhi. PTI
The passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill by both Houses of Parliament, followed by the President’s assent, led to widespread protests across the country. The Bill, now an Act, proposes to grant Indian citizenship to Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Christian minorities who came to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan before 2015. Read More
On August 5, 2019, Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill and announced the abrogation of Article 370.
This took away the special status previously accorded to the state of Jammu and Kashmir
— autonomy over creating laws and not enforcing many created by the central government. The J&K Reorganisation Bill, once passed by both Houses of Parliament, paved the way for splitting Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories — J&K, with its own legislative Assembly like Delhi, and Ladakh without one like Chandigarh. Read More
The Instant Triple Talaq Bill
Muslim women celebrate. Photo: PTI
In a major win for Muslim women, Parliament
passed the Triple Talaq
Bill, criminalising instant divorce. The practice of instant divorce by Muslim men is now punishable with a jail term of up to three years. The government was able to get the Bill to be passed by both Houses of Parliament
as it had the numbers, and the abstinence of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) from voting made it easier.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019
Towards the end of its first term in office, the Narendra Modi-led National
Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had brought the 124th Constitution Amendment Bill, 2019, providing for people from economically weaker sections (EWS) to avail of 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutes. This cleared the decks for those in the general category with an annual income of up to Rs 8 lakh and not availing of any reservation other than vertical quota (ex-servicemen, persons with disability, etc), to seek reservation in government jobs and education. Read More
The Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019
Parliament passed the Special Economic Zone (Amendment) Bill, which now allows trusts to set up units in SEZs. This was done by amending the previous law. The government said these zones could push growth and generate employment. The legislation paved the way for trusts to set up units in SEZs.
The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers' Cadre) Bill, 2019
Parliament passed the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers' Cadre) Bill, allowing filling up of more than 8,000 existing vacancies by direct recruitment in accordance with a new quota system. According to the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry, the move is aimed at giving a major push to reforms in the education sector, making it inclusive while keeping in mind the aspirations of the people from different categories.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019
Parliament approved the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, which gives the power to the Centre and states to declare any individual as a terrorist and confiscate their property. The Bill, moved by Home Minister Amit Shah, was passed by both Houses. The Congress Party supported the Bill by walking out before the vote, making it easy for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP). The Left parties and the Trinamool Congress called it a draconian move and opposed it. Shah said the Bill would send a strong message that India was united in its fight against terrorism. The Bill provides a four-level scrutiny to keep violation of human rights in check. Read More
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019
Parliament passed the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which aims to make road transport safer and increase the penalty on traffic rule violators. It was not well received by all citizens as there was a sudden multi-fold increase in penalty for same violations. The law has provisions to facilitate people in dealing with transport department officials and curb corruption. Read More
Merging of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu Union Territories
The two Union Territories of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu are to be merged into one. Parliament passed the Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019, to facilitate this move. The merging of the two Union Territories will bring down administrative cost and speed up the development of these regions, the government said. Read More
In a move that drew much controversy, Parliament passed the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019. After the amendment of the Act, SPG cover is now to be provided only to the prime minister and his immediate family members staying with him at the PM's residence, besides former prime ministers and their immediate family residing with them for not more than five years after demitting office. The amendment of the Act took away the cover for former PM Manmohan Singh, as it has been more than five years since he demitted the office of PM. It also took away the cover given to the Gandhi family for the same reason. The Congress party termed this vendetta politics by the BJP. Read More
SC (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2019
Owing to a growing number of pending cases, Parliament passed a Bill to increase the number of Supreme Court judges from 30 to 33, excluding the Chief Justice of India. The Bill was moved by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The appointment of three more judges to the Supreme Court will add about Rs 7 crore to the annual expenditure. Read More