Lok Sabha Current Affairs

Lok Sabha passes Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Lok Sabha has passed Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to empower government to fix period of maternity leave and tax-free gratuity amount with an executive order. The Bill seeks to amend the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.

Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972

It allows for payment of gratuity to employees in any establishment, factory, mine, oilfield, plantation, port, railways, company, or shop employing 10 or more workers.  Under it, employees are paid gratuity if they have provided at least 5 years of continuous service at time of termination.

Key Features of Bill

The Bill empowers central government to notify period of maternity leave eligible for qualifying as continuous service and determine amount of gratuity available to employees.

The maximum maternity leave, for the purpose of calculating continuous service under the Act, was based on the maternity leave provided under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. The Bill removes the reference to 12 weeks in Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and empowers central government to notify the maximum maternity leave. Under the Act, maximum maternity leave was 12 weeks and was changed to 26 weeks by Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017.

The Bill removes the existing ceiling of Rs 10 lakh amount of gratuity payable to an employee and states that the ceiling may be notified by the central government.

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Lok Sabha passes Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017

The Lok Sabha has passed Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to further ease procedures for doing business in the country. The Bill seeks to amend the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

Features of Bill

Specific performance: The Bill seeks to remove conditions of specific performance is limited right, which may be given by court at its discretion and permit specific performance by courts as general rule. It adds limited liability partnership (LLP), a new entity formed from amalgamation of two existing LLPs, one of which may have entered into a contract before the amalgamation.

Substituted performance: The Bill gives affected party (i.e. party whose contract has not been performed by other party) option to arrange for performance of contract by third party or by his own agency (substituted performance).

Injunctions: It prevent courts from granting injunctions in contracts related to infrastructure projects, if such injunction hinder or delay completion of project in infrastructure sectors and their sub-sectors like transport, energy, water and sanitation, communication and social and commercial infrastructure. The central government may amend list of sectors through notification.

Special Courts: It allows state government to designate certain civil courts as Special Courts in consultation with Chief Justice of High Court. These courts will deal with cases related to infrastructure projects. Such cases must be disposed off within 1 year from date of receipt of summons by defendant. This period can be extended by courts for another 6 months.

Recovery of possession: It permits person through whom dispossessed got possession of immovable property, to file a suit for recovery.

Experts: It inserts new provision for engaging technical experts in suits where expert opinion may be needed.  The court will determine terms of payment of such expert. The payment of experts will be borne by both parties.

Specific Relief Act, 1963

It is law sets out remedies available to parties whose contractual or civil rights have been violated. It also provides a remedy that aims at the exact fulfilment of an obligation or specific performance of the contract rather than a general relief or compensation or damages.

It sets out two main remedies to party whose contract has not been performed. First one, the party may ask court to compel performance of contract (specific performance and second one, the party may seek monetary compensation instead of performance.

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