Bills and Amendements Current Affairs

Parliament passes Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Parliament has passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017 with Rajya Sabha approving it. Lok Sabha had passed it earlier.

The Bill amends the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), 2009 by extending the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment.

Key Facts

In the parent Act, provision to possess minimum qualifications by teachers was relaxed for a period not exceeding five years (till March 2015) in case state does not have adequate teacher training institutions or sufficient number of qualified teachers.

The amendment bill gives last chance to inadequately qualified teachers as on March 31, 2015, working after enactment of the RTE Act, 2009 to acquire minimum qualifications within a period of four years (till March 31, 2019) to hold their jobs as teachers.

Comment

The RTE Act, 2009 envisages free and compulsory elementary education to every child in the age group of 6-14 years. The amendments to RTE Act, 2009 will enable the in-service untrained elementary teachers to complete their training and ensure that all teachers at the elementary level have certain minimum standard of qualifications in order to maintain the standard of teaching quality.

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Parliament passes The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016

Parliament has passed The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016. Admiralty laws deal with cases of accidents in navigable waters or involve contracts related to commerce on such waters.

The Bill seeks to upgrade existing laws related to civil matters of admiralty jurisdiction of courts, maritime claims, arrest and detention of ships. It repeals laws such as the Admiralty Court Act, 1861, Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890.

Features of the Bill

The bill confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India, thus extending their upto territorial waters. It empowers central government to extend the jurisdiction of these High Courts. Under the earlier laws enacted during the colonial era, the admiralty was only by the High Courts of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

The bill now extends the provisions of admiralty jurisdiction 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.

It empowers High Courts to exercise jurisdiction on maritime claims arising out of conditions such as disputes regarding ownership of a vessel, mortgage on a vessel, construction, repair, or conversion of the vessel, disputes between co-owners of a vessel regarding employment or earnings of the vessel, disputes arising out of the sale of a vessel, and environmental damage caused by the vessel, etc.

Background

India is a leading maritime nation and maritime transportation caters to about 95% of its merchandise trade volume. However, the admiralty jurisdiction of Indian courts under the present statutory framework flow from laws enacted in the British era. The repealing of five archaic admiralty statutes is in line with the Union Government’s commitment to do away with archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.

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