Bills and Acts

Health Ministry notifies HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued notification for bringing Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 in force from 10th September, 2018.

The Act safeguards rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. It also addresses HIV-related discrimination, strengthen existing programme by bringing in legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances.

Key Provisions of the Act

The Act seeks to prevent and control spread of HIV and AIDS, prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS. It lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.

These discrimination grounds include denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to (i) employment (ii) educational establishments (iii) health care services, (iv) standing for public or private office, (v) residing or renting property and (vi) provision of insurance.

It also prohibits requirement for HIV testing as pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education. It mentions that every HIV infected or affected person below age of 18 years has right to reside in shared household and enjoy facilities of household.

It also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them. It gives right to every person in care and custody of the state to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counseling services.

It mentions that person between 12 to 18 years of age having sufficient maturity in understanding and managing affairs of his HIV or AIDS affected family will be competent to act as guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age. This will be applicable in matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, care and treatment, amongst others.

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New Ganga clean-up law proposes setting up Ganga Protection Corps, prison terms and fines

Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation has prepared draft Bill which proposes setting up armed Ganga Protection Corps (GPC) to arrest any person who has committed offence of polluting River Ganga punishable under this law. The Bill calls for National Ganga Council and National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority to enforce law and protect Ganga River.

Key Features of this Bill

Cognizable offences marked in this Bill: Construction activities causing obstruction in river, withdrawal of ground water for industrial or commercial consumption from land fronting river and its tributaries, commercial fishing or aqua culture in river and its tributaries, discharging untreated or treated sewage into the river.

Ganga Protection Corps (GPC): The draft Bill envisages GPC as armed force constituted and maintained by Central government. It gives powers to armed GPC personnel to arrest any person who has committed offence punishable under this Act and take such person in custody to the nearest police station. For this GPC will follow Code of Criminal Procedure (CrCP).GPC personnel will be provided by Ministry of Home Affairs and will be deployed by National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority. This is almost similar provisions as in the Environment Protection Act 1986, but creation of GPC is new.
Punishment: The draft Bill proposes imprisonment for 2 years or fine of Rs 2 lakh or both for commercial fishing or aqua culture activities in Ganga and any of its tributaries. Similarly, it provides two-year imprisonment or fine up to Rs 50 lakh or both for construction of permanent structure for residential, commercial and residential purposes in active flood plain area of Ganga River.  It proposes 5 year prison term or fine of Rs. 50,000 per day or both for person or municipal authority which establishes or takes any steps to set up any industrial or residential or commercial premises or structure near Ganga which may result in discharge of any sewage or trade effluent into river.

Background

Present environmental laws are not adequate to restore and protect Ganga River. To overcome it,Government had constituted  committee  under retired judge of Allahabad High Court Justice Girdhar Malviya in July 2016. It had submitted draft Bill named The National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Bill, 2017. Subsequently, four-member committee was also set up by Ministry to examine the Bill. Earlier in 1998, Justice Malviya, as judge of Allahabad High Court had called for River Police to protect the Ganga.

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