Bills and Acts in Current Affairs 2017

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Rajya Sabha passes HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014

The Rajya Sabha has passed HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014. The Bill seeks to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV.

It aims to prevent social stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV (PLHIV). It also seeks to strengthen legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances to probe discrimination complaints against those who discriminate against PLHIV.

Salient Features of Bill
  • Prevention and control the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS.
  • No person will be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order Establishments keeping records of information of PLHIV must adopt data protection measures.
  • Obligations on establishments to safeguard rights of persons living with HIV arid create mechanisms for redressing complaints.
  • Lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV-positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.
  • These include the denial, discontinuation, termination or unfair treatment with regard to employment, educational establishments, health care services, renting property etc.
  • Prohibits, requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education.
  • Prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and PLHIV.
Background

There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India, the third highest number after South Africa and Nigeria. Currently, HIV is more prevalent in high-risk groups like female sex workers, homosexuals and drug addicts. The prevalence of HIV is decreasing over the last decade but percentage of PLHIV receiving Anti-Retroviral therapy (ART) treatment are merely 28.82% against global percentage of 41%.

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Parliament passes Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016

The Parliament has passed Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016 by voice vote to make amendments to the Enemy Property Act, 1968.

The Bill replaces the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2016 promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee for five times.

Background

The Bill passed by Lok Sabha incorporates the amendments made by the Rajya Sabha earlier. The Bill replacing the ordinance was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier but certain amendments were introduced to it in the Rajya Sabha, on the recommendations of a Select Committee.

Key Features of the Bill
  • Defines enemy property as: Any property belonging to, held or managed on behalf of an enemy, an enemy subject or an enemy firm.
  • Further, it expands definition to include legal heirs of enemies even if they are Indian citizens or of another country which is not an enemy and nationals of an enemy country who have changed their nationality to another country, etc.
  • Custody of enemy property: The government has vested these properties in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, an office instituted under the Central government.
  • Once an enemy property is vested to the custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him. The law of succession does not apply to enemy property.
  • Thus, enemy property will not revert back to enemy subject or enemy firm due to reasons such as death of subject or firm ceased to function.

About Enemy Property Act, 1968

After the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, to regulate enemy properties and lists the Custodian’s powers. The act provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the custodian. The possession of enemy properties spread across many states in the country vest with the Union Government through the Custodian of Enemy Property for India.

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Lok Sabha passes Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016

The Lok Sabha has passed the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016.

The Bill aims to establish uniform legal framework by consolidating the existing laws relating to admiralty jurisdiction of courts, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, arrest of vessels and related issues.

It also aims to repeal five obsolete British statutes statutes (laws) on admiralty jurisdiction in civil matters which are 126 to 177 years old and were hindering efficient governance.

The five laws are Admiralty Court Act, 1840; Admiralty Court Act, 1861; Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890; Colonial Courts of Admiralty (India) Act, 1891; and Provisions of the Letters Patent, 1865.

Salient Features of Admirability Bill, 2016
  • It confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India, thus extending their jurisdictions upto territorial waters.
  • The jurisdiction will be extendable by the Union Government notification upto exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or any other maritime zone or islands constituting part of India.
  • It applies to every vessel irrespective of place of domicile or residence of owner. It does not apply to naval auxiliary, warships and vessels used for non-commercial purposes.
  • Inland vessels and vessels under construction are excluded from its application. But it empowers Union Government to make it applicable to these vessels also by a notification.
  • It lists the jurisdiction for adjudicating on a set of maritime claims. A vessel can be arrested in certain circumstances in order to ensure security against a maritime claim.
  • It also provides for prioritization of maritime claims and maritime liens while providing protection to owners, operators, charterers, crew members and seafarers at the same time.

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