Lok Sabha Current Affairs - 2019
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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.
President Ram Nath Kovind has called for simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies. He made this state while addressing the joint sitting of Parliament on the commencement of the Budget Session.
He made this statement arguing that frequent elections impede speed of development as officials have to assist in conducting polls. He called for sustained debate on subject of simultaneous elections and urged all political parties to arrive at consensus on this issue.
Need for simultaneous elections
- Frequent elections affect the governance as imposition of model code of conduct in poll bound areas puts on hold all developmental activities on that area and also affects the bureaucracy’s functioning.
- Elections in India are big-budget exercise. Expenditure can be reduced by conducting simultaneous elections.
- Law Commission in its 170th report titled Reform of Electoral Laws (1999) had suggested holding simultaneous elections at all levels for stability in governance.
- Frequent elections disrupt normal public life and affect functioning of essential services. Moreover, frequent elections lead to frequent disruption of road traffic by political rallies and also lead to noise pollution.
- Crucial manpower especially teachers is often deployed on election duties for prolonged period of time. If simultaneous elections are held, then this manpower will be made available for other important tasks.
- Not all voters are highly educated to know who to vote for. They may get confused and may not know whether they are voting for candidates contesting assembly or parliament elections.
- Frequent elections bring politicians back to the voters, create jobs (though temporary) and prevent the mixing of local and national issues in the minds of the voters.
- The issue of logistics and requirement of security personnel, election and administrative officials needs to be considered.
- There is dearth of enough security and administrative officials to conduct simultaneous free and fair elections throughout the country in one go.
- Mostly elections in big states are held various phases mainly due to security concerns. If this is situation, holding simultaneous elections for all the states, it may need to be held in many phases stretching over many months.
The idea of ‘one nation one election’ has been proposed for many years starting with Law Commission suggestion in 1999. Most recently, Parliament’s standing committee 2015 report suggested holding simultaneous election to save public money and end policy paralysis because of impact of the model code of conduct. It had pegged the cost of holding elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies at Rs. 4500 crore. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had pitched for this idea.