Bills and Acts in Current Affairs 2017

Parliament passes Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws Amendment Bill, 2016

Parliament has passed Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws Amendment Bill, 2016. It was first passed in Lok Sabha and later in Rajya Sabha.

The Bill seeks to strengthen the debt recovery laws, improve financial health of the banks and lead to ease of doing business.

Key Features

  • The Bill seeks to amend four laws: (i) Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002 (ii) Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (RDDBFI), 1993 (iii) Depositories Act, 1996 and (iv) Indian Stamp Act, 1899.
  • Amendments to SARFAESI Act: It allows District Magistrate (DM) to take possession over collateral within 30 days for securing the creditors.
  • It empowers DM to assist banks to take over the management of a company, in case the company is unable to repay loans.
  • It creates a central database to integrate records of property registered under various registration systems with central registry meant for maintaining records of transactions related to secured assets.
  • Unless collateral is registered with the central registry, secured creditors will not be able to take possession over it.
  • Empowers the RBI to carry out audit and inspection of Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) and penalize them if they fail to comply with any directions issued by it.
  • Stamp duty will not be charged on transactions undertaken for transfer of financial assets (loans and collaterals) in favour of asset reconstruction companies.
  • Amendments to the RDDBFI Act: Increases the retirement age of Presiding Officers (PO) of Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) to 65 years from 62 years.
  • Increases the retirement age of Chairpersons of Appellate Tribunals to 67 years from 65 years. Allows PO and Chairpersons eligible for reappointment to their positions.
  • Allows banks to file cases in tribunals having jurisdiction over the area of bank branch where the debt is pending.


Lok Sabha passes Employee’s Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The Lok Sabha has unanimously passed the Employee’s Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to reduce litigation in cases of disputes arising over compensation to workers.

The Bill seeks to amend the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923. This law provides payment of compensation to employees and their dependents in the case of injury by industrial accidents, including occupational diseases.

Key Features of Bill

  • Duty to inform employee of right to compensation: Mandatory for employer to inform the employee of his right to compensation under the parent Act.
  • Such information must be given in writing in Hindi, English, or the relevant official language at the time of employing him.
  • Penalty for failure to inform: If employer fails to inform his employee of his right to compensation he will be fined penalty between Rs. 50, 000 to Rs. 1 lakh.
  • Appeals from the Commissioner’s order: Any dispute related to an employee’s compensation will be heard by a Commissioner (with powers of a civil court) only if the amount in dispute is ten thousand rupees. It allows Union Government to further raise this amount.
  • In parent Act, appeals related to a substantial question of law from the Commissioner’s order will lie before the High Court.
  • Deletion of withholding payments pending appeal provision: Earlier in the parent Act, any payments towards the employee can be temporarily withheld if an employer has appealed against a Commissioner’s order in High Court. This provision has been deleted.