Bills and Amendements Current Affairs - 2020

Parliament passes The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016

Parliament has passed The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016. Admiralty laws deal with cases of accidents in navigable waters or involve contracts related to commerce on such waters.

The Bill seeks to upgrade existing laws related to civil matters of admiralty jurisdiction of courts, maritime claims, arrest and detention of ships. It repeals laws such as the Admiralty Court Act, 1861, Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890.

Features of the Bill

The bill confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India, thus extending their upto territorial waters. It empowers central government to extend the jurisdiction of these High Courts. Under the earlier laws enacted during the colonial era, the admiralty was only by the High Courts of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

The bill now extends the provisions of admiralty jurisdiction to every vessel irrespective of place of domicile or residence of owner. It does not apply to naval auxiliary, warships and vessels used for non-commercial purposes.

It empowers High Courts to exercise jurisdiction on maritime claims arising out of conditions such as disputes regarding ownership of a vessel, mortgage on a vessel, construction, repair, or conversion of the vessel, disputes between co-owners of a vessel regarding employment or earnings of the vessel, disputes arising out of the sale of a vessel, and environmental damage caused by the vessel, etc.

Background

India is a leading maritime nation and maritime transportation caters to about 95% of its merchandise trade volume. However, the admiralty jurisdiction of Indian courts under the present statutory framework flow from laws enacted in the British era. The repealing of five archaic admiralty statutes is in line with the Union Government’s commitment to do away with archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.

Lok Sabha passes The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Lok Sabha has passed The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The Bill amends the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), 2009 to extend the deadline for teachers to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for appointment.

Through the amending measure inadequately qualified teachers as on March 31, 2015, working after enactment of the RTE Act, 2009 are being given last chance to acquire minimum qualifications within a period of four years i.e. by March 31, 2019 to hold their jobs as teachers.

Key Facts

The amendments to RTE Act, 2009 will enable the in-service untrained elementary teachers to complete their training and ensure that all teachers at the elementary level have certain minimum standard of qualifications. It will ensure that all teachers attain minimum qualifications as considered necessary to maintain the standard of teaching quality. It will ultimately result in improvement in overall quality of teachers, teaching processes and learning outcomes of children. It will reinforce Government’s emphasis on improvement of quality of elementary education.

Background

The RTE Act, 2009 envisages free and compulsory elementary education to every child in the age group of 6-14 years. The section 23(2) of the Act specifies that all teachers at elementary level at commencement of this law if did not possess minimum qualifications under it need to acquire these within a period of five years i.e. by March 2015. However, several state governments have reported that 11.00 lakh teachers at the elementary level are still untrained out of a total number of 66.41 lakh teachers.