Bills and Acts Current Affairs

Government notifies the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2017

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has notified the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2017. The Amendment Act amended some provisions of Companies Act, 2013.

Few provisions in the Amendment Act have important bearing on the working of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016. They will come into force on date as Government notify in Official Gazette. It aims to help in simplifying procedures, make compliance easy and take stringent action against defaulting companies.

Key Facts

Issuance of shares at a discount: It was prohibited by Section 53 of the Act. The Amendment Act allows companies to issue shares at discount to its creditors when its debt is converted into shares in pursuance of any statutory resolution plan such as resolution plan under IBC or debt restructuring scheme.

Payment of managerial remuneration in excess: It was required for company in general meeting for payment of managerial remuneration in excess of 11% of net profits as per Section 197 of parent Act. The Amendment Act now requires company which has defaulted in payment of dues, prior approval of bank or public financial institution concerned or non-convertible debenture holders or other secured creditor. For such payment of managerial remuneration shall be obtained by company before obtaining approval in general meeting.

Prohibition of registered valuer from undertaking valuation of any assets: Section 247 of Companies Act, 2013 them of any assets in which they have direct or indirect interest or becomes so interested at any time during or after valuation of assets. The Amendment Act now prohibits registered valuer to be appointment as valuer or three years after valuation of assets was conducted by him.

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Lok Sabha passes Triple talaq Bill

The Lok Sabha passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriages) Bill 2017 dclaring instant triple talaq illegal and criminalises it with up to three years in jail for the husband. The bill will now will be sent to the Rajya Sabha for passage before it is forwarded to the President for assent to come into force as law.

Key Features of Bill

The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form (text message, email etc) to be void and illegal i.e. not enforceable in law. It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by Muslim husband resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce to his wife.

It refers Talaq-e-biddat to practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by Muslim husband to his wife results in instant and irrevocable divorce.

Offence and penalty: It makes declaration of talaq a cognizable and non-bailable offence i.e. offence for which police officer may arrest an accused person without warrant. Moreover, if Muslim husband declaring triple talaq can be imprisoned for up to 3 years along with a fine.

Allowance: It entitles Muslim woman against whom triple talaq has been declared to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children. First Class Magistrate will decide this allowance amount.

Custody of minor children: Muslim woman against whom triple talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children. First Class Magistrate will make determination of custody of her minor children.

Background

The Constitutional bench of Supreme Court in 3:2 majority judgment (verdict) given in August 2017 had declared Islamic practice of instant divorce through triple talaq as unconstitutional, illegal and void and not protected by Article 25 (freedom of religion) of the Constitution. The three majority judges had held that triple talaq is manifestly arbitrary and violative of the constitution and fundamental right under Article 14 (equality before law) so it must be struck down.

Comment

It was alleged that practise of triple talaq adversely impact rights of women to a life of dignity and is against constitutional principles such as gender equality, secularism, international laws etc. It also undermines gender equality is a sacred principle of our constitution and modern society. Even 21 Islamic theocratic countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan have abolished it.

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