Constitution & Law Current Affairs - 2019

Summary of latest bill and acts passed or pending in 2019 in Parliament of India with their salient features and issues for Current Affairs 2019 preparation for various examinations such as UPSC, SSC, State Civil Services, CLAT, Judicial Services etc.

Category Wise PDF Compilations available at This Link

Election Commission of India on Electoral Bonds

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the Election Commission of India has made the following observations:

  • Electoral bonds, contrary to government claims, wreck transparency in political funding.
  • Electoral bonds coupled with the removal of the cap on foreign funding invites foreign corporate powers to impact Indian politics.
  • Electoral bonds would cause a “serious impact” on transparency in the funding of political parties.

The Election Commission of India further criticises amendments made to various key statutes through the two consecutive Finance Acts of 2016 and 2017.

What were the amendments made?

The Finance Act of 2017 amends various laws, including the Representation of the People Act of 1951, the Income Tax Act and the Companies Act. The Finance Act of 2016 makes changes in the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010.

The amendment to Representation of the People Act allows political parties to skip recording donations received by them through electoral bonds in their contribution reports to the ECI.

The amendments introduced to the Income Tax Act allow anonymous donations. Donors to political parties are not required to provide their names, address or PAN if they have contributed less than Rs. 20,000. The Election Commission notes that many political parties have been reporting a major portion of the donations received as being less than the prescribed limit of Rs. 20,000.

The Finance Act of 2016 allowed donations to be received from foreign companies having a majority stake in Indian companies.

Observations by Election Commission

The Election Commission of India called these measures as a retrograde step and the ECI has no way to ascertain whether the donations were received illegally by the political party from government companies or foreign sources.

The Election commission also expressed concerns that these amendments would pump in black money for political funding through shell companies and allow unchecked foreign funding of political parties in India which could lead to Indian politics being influenced by foreign companies.

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Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019

The Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare has notified the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019 with an aim to promote clinical research in the country.

Features of the New Rules

  • The new rules reduce the time for approving applications to 30 days for drugs manufactured in India and 90 days for those developed outside the country.
  • The new rules state that in case of no communication from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the application will be deemed to have been approved.
  • The new rules will ensure patient safety, as they would be enlisted for trials with informed consent and the ethics committee will monitor the trials and decide on the amount of compensation in cases of adverse events.
  • The new rules mandates that in case of injury to the clinical trial subject, medical management will be provided as long as required as per the opinion of the investigator or till such time it is established that the injury is not related to the clinical trial.
  • Compensation in cases of death and permanent disability or other injuries to a trial subject will be decided by the Drug Controller General.
  • The rules also waive off the requirement of a local clinical trial if the drug is approved and marketed in countries specified by the DCGI with the approval of government from time to time and certain other conditions.
  • The DCGI has waived off the clinical trial for the drugs approved and marketed in the European Union, the UK, Australia, Canada, Japan and the US.

The new rules aim to promote clinical research in India by providing for a predictable, transparent and effective regulation for clinical trials and by ensuring faster accessibility of new drugs to the Indian population.

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