Consumer Protection to Aadhaar Bills, making sense of new Modi govt agenda

The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha will start on June 17. Photo: PTI
While assuming charge, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government would have to reintroduce the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, as it had lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. Also, there are 22 other Bills that the government will have to reintroduce in the Lok Sabha as they too have lapsed.

“Apart from the Bills that have lapsed, the focus of the government will be on the Bills which it could not introduce owing to one reason or the other. The Data Protection Bill, which may not be economically or politically relevant but is important for start-ups, will have to be looked at,” said Alok Prasanna Kumar, senior resident fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy. 

The changes in the goods and services tax laws will also be in focus as the government would want to ease doing business, which can revive the economy, Kumar said.

When does a Bill lapse?

A Bill that originates in the Lok Sabha and remains pending in the Lower House itself is considered lapsed with the dissolution of the House. The Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, promulgated in January this year sought to change provisions related to penalties, as well as issuing of shares at a discount mentioned under the Companies Act of 2013. The new ordinance had sought to repeal and replace a similar ordinance promulgated in 2018. The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019, has lapsed and will need to be introduced again.

A Bill that originates and is passed by the Rajya Sabha, but is pending in the Lok Sabha also lapses with the dissolution of the Lower House. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Third Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was introduced and passed in the Rajya Sabha but could not be passed by the Lok Sabha, will be considered lapsed, according to PRS Legislative Research. The Bill will have to be introduced again.

 
Bills that originate and are passed in the Lok Sabha but are pending in the Upper House are also considered lapsed. The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on January 2 and passed two days later, could not be taken up in the Upper House. The Bill will be considered lapsed and will have to be introduced again.

Further, a Bill that originates and is passed in the Rajya Sabha but is returned with amendments to the Upper House by the Lok Sabha and then does not get the clearance of the Rajya Sabha is considered to have lapsed on the date of dissolution of the Lower House.

What are the important Bills that have lapsed?

Among the economically important Bills that have lapsed, the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, the Companies (Amendment) Bill and the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, all introduced in 2018, will take centre stage. Through the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019 — the renamed Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2018 — the government wanted to introduce provisions to re-categorise some offences, which were earlier punishable with fine or imprisonment or both, as civil penalties. These offences include issuing of shares at a discount and failure to file an annual return by the company.

Under the old Companies Act, the change in the period of the financial year for a company associated with a foreign company had to be approved by the National Company Law Tribunal. The amendment Bill of 2019 seeks to transfer these powers to the central government, according to PRS Legislative Research.

The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018, which was introduced in the Lower House in July 2018, sought to define that for people accepting unregulated deposits, the offence would be punishable by a jail term of up to seven years, along with a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.

Other economically important Bills which have lapsed include the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Amendment) Bill, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, the Consumer Protection Bill, the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, as well as the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, all introduced in 2018.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, introduced and passed by the Lok Sabha in December has also lapsed. With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month, the contentious Bill which sought to ban triple talaq will have to be reintroduced as the Rajya Sabha was not able to pass it.

When does a Bill not lapse?

There are instances when certain Bills, despite the dissolution of the Lower House, are not considered to have lapsed. A Bill that is pending in the Rajya Sabha but is not passed by the Lok Sabha does not lapse with the change of government. Also, Bills that have cleared both the Houses but are pending assent from the President are considered not lapsed.




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