Bills and Acts Current Affairs
Punjab becomes third state in the country after Maharashtra and Gujarat to ban hookah bars or lounges. The ban was announced through law after President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2018. The objective of this law is to check use of tobacco in various forms and prevent diseases caused by use of the tobacco products.
The Bill was Punjab state assembly in March this year with an aim to bring the law in force to check the use of tobacco in various forms and prevent diseases caused by the use of tobacco. The law was enacted due check unregulated growth these hookah parlours and rapid increase in trend of ‘hookah-sheesha’ smoking in the state. Moreover, there were complaints of drug consumption in these hookah bars across the state.
Impact on Health
Smoking of hookah increases health risks, which includes exposure to toxic chemicals that are not filtered out by water. It also results in transmission or risk of infectious disease like tuberculosis (TB) from sharing a hookah. As per study, an hour’s average of hookah includes 20-200 puffs, delivering 50 litres of smoke contain, hazardous and carcinogenic chemicals.
Union Cabinet has approved proposal for promulgation ordinance to amend the Companies Act, 2013. The ordinance had received assent from President Ram Nath Kovind under Article 123 and has been promulgated. The amendments to the Act are aimed to promote ease of doing business as well as ensure better compliance levels.
The ordinance to change Companies Act seeks to declog National Company Law Tribunals (NCLTs) and decriminalise minor offences by companies. The ordinance will transfer 90% of the cases to regional directors under Ministry of Corporate Affairs from NCLTs. Moreover, it will retain status of all non-compoundable offences since they are serious in nature.
Union Government-appointed Committee (headed by Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas) had suggested various changes to Act, including restructuring of corporate offences under companies law and in-house adjudication mechanism to ensure that courts get more time to deal with serious violations.
Apart from restructuring of corporate offences to relieve special courts from adjudicating routine offences, the committee had mooted re-categorisation of 16 out of 81 compoundable offences under the Act. This move was recommended to bring down NCLT’s load as it looks at insolvency and bankruptcy cases as well.
It also recommended disqualification of directors in case they have directorships beyond permissible limits and capping an independent director’s remuneration. It also had suggested that remuneration any independent director gets from company should be capped at 20% of his gross income in year to prevent any material pecuniary relationship, which could impair their independence on the board.