Bills & Acts 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.

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Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari has stated that the Central Government expects a 20 per cent decline in road accidents from the current five lakh a year and Parliament’s nod to pending legislation Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill will also help curb the accidents.

Features of the Bill

The features of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 are:

  • The bill seeks to redress the difficulties faced in obtaining driving licenses without the help of touts by taking the process online. Tests for driving licences will be automated, and learner’s licences will be issued online.
  • The bill provides for an increase of fines for breaking road rules.
  • The new law states that driving licence issued to a person under the age of 30 is valid till the person turns 40. For those who receive licences between the ages of 30 and 50, the licence will remain valid for 10 years. If the licence is issued between 50 and 55 years, it will be valid until the person turns 60, and above 55 years, licences will carry a five-year validity.
  • The bill defines aggregators as a digital intermediary or market place for a passenger to connect with a driver for the purpose of transportation and makes it optional for the states to follow central guidelines related to the aggregators.
  • The bill leaves the regulation of aggregators should be left to states.
  • The bill also removes the cap on payments to be made under third-party insurance proposed in the 2016 bill.
  • The bill provides for the recall of vehicles if the defective vehicle is a danger to the environment, the driver or other road users. The manufacturer would be required to reimburse all buyers with the full cost of the vehicle, replace the defective vehicle, and if necessary pay a fine as specified by the government.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has been passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha.

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Amendments to Representation of People’s Act 1951

The Election Commission of India has sought an amendment to the Representation of People Act 1951 to prevent print media, social media and other digital platforms from carrying political advertisements in the last 48 hours before the polling begins.

Why the amendment is necessary?

Section 126 of the Representation of People Act 1951 prevents electronic media from airing any political advertisements in the silent period (48 hours before polling begins),

The Election Commission has also made it mandatory to seek pre-certification of the campaign material to be published in newspapers during the 48 hours.

But the Social media platforms which are have gained huge prominence for their ability to influence election outcomes, are completely out of the purview of the pre-screening and prohibition rules.

The committee headed Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha had noted that an anomalous situation exists in Section 126 of having differential treatment to print media as compared to other media platforms.

The committee noted that while Section 126 explicitly bans television channels from broadcasting political matter during the silent period, lack of backing by law has led to Print media carrying political advertisements during the silent period despite the curbs imposed by the EC

What are the amendments sought?

The Election Commission of India has written to the Union Ministry of Law suggesting to extend the provisions under Section 126 to digital and print media as well. The Commission has sought inclusion of ‘print media’ and ‘other entities’ within the ambit of Section 126 (1) (b). The other entities would refer to all social media formats.

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