Bills and Acts

Summary of latest bill and acts passed or pending in 2018 in Parliament of India with their salient features and issues for Current Affairs 2018 preparation for various examinations.

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Lok Sabha passes Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018

The Lok Sabha has passed the Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The bill moved by Minister of State for Law PP Chaudhary seeks to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce in five personal laws – Hindu Marriage Act, Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, Divorce Act (for Christians), Special Marriage Act and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act.

Why the amendment was moved?

The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2018. The bill was introduced as various recommendations were made to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce. Some of the recommendations are:

  • The Law Commission in its 256th report had recommended repeal of laws and provisions which were discriminatory against leprosy affected people.
  • India is a signatory to a UN Resolution which calls for the elimination of discrimination against persons suffering from leprosy. Leprosy as a ground for divorce was contradicting to the resolution.
  • In 2014, Even the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and the state governments to take steps for rehabilitation and integration of leprosy-affected people into the mainstream.
  • The National Human Rights Commission had long made a proposal for the government in this regard.

The Minister said that Leprosy is now a curable disease as against the earlier notion of it being incurable. Hence it would be wise to bring out an amendment in this regard.

Leprosy

Leprosy is a chronic infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. Leprosy mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes.

Even though the exact mechanism of transmission of leprosy is not known, the most widely held belief was that the disease was transmitted by contact between cases of leprosy and healthy persons. The possibility of transmission by the respiratory route is gaining ground more recently.

A centrally sponsored scheme National Leprosy Eradication Programme is being implemented in India to tackle the disease. India has eliminated leprosy as a public health problem, which means that there is less than 1 person in 10,000 infected with the disease. Even though the number seems low in percentage terms, when considered in absolute terms, it is humongous.

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Vijay Mallya declared as Fugitive Economic Offender

The  Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) court in Mumbai has declared Vijay Mallya as a Fugitive Economic Offender. Vijay Mallya is the first businessman to be charged under the new fugitive economic offender’s act 2018.

Declaration of the Fugitive Economic Offender

Vijay Mallya is declared as the Fugitive Economic Offender under the following provisions:

  • According to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 a fugitive economic offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for his or her involvement in economic offences involving at least Rs. 100 crore or more and has left India to avoid prosecution.
  • The investigating agencies have to file an application in a Special Court under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts.
  • The Special Court will issue a notice for the person to appear at a specified place and date at least six weeks from the issue of notice.
  • Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears. If not the person would be declared as a Fugitive Economic Offender based on the evidence filed by the investigating agencies.

The person who is declared as a Fugitive Economic Offender can challenge the proclamation in the High Court within 30 days of such declaration according to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.

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