Lok Sabha Current Affairs - 2020

BJP led NDA Government wins No Confidence motion in Lok Sabha

Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government has won No Confidence motion moved in Lok Sabha. This was first no-trust motion against Narendra Modi government after it came to power in May 2014 and less than year before the next general elections.

Key Facts

The no-confidence motion against the government was moved by a former NDA ally Telugu Desham Party (TDP). In this trust vote, NDA bagged 325 votes against motion, while 126 members voted in favour. Total of 451 out of 534 MPs were present and voted in the house bringing down majority mark required to 226.

No-Confidence Motion

In a parliamentary democracy, government can be in power only if it commands majority in directly elected House. Article 75(3) of our Constitution of India embodies this rule by specifying that Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha. But there is no mention of a no-confidence motion in the constitution. The Rule 198 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha provides mechanism for testing this collective responsibility.  Rajya Sabha does not have procedure for moving of no-confidence motion against Government and also adjournment motion, censure motion.

The rule allows any Lok Sabha MP who can garner support of 50 colleagues, to introduce motion of no-confidence against the Council of Ministers. Motion of No-confidence need not set out any grounds on which it is based. If there are 50 MPs in favour, the motion is admitted and speaker allots date for discussion on the motion. Thereafter, discussion on motion takes place. MPs who support motion highlight government’s shortcomings. Then Prime Minister or ministers reply to the charges made. If the government loses trust vote, it is expected to resign.

Lok Sabha passes Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018

Lok Sabha has passed Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018 that aims to curb practice of evading criminal prosecution by economic offenders fleeing from country to evade clutches Indian law by remaining outside jurisdiction of Indian courts.. The bill will replace an ordinance promulgated by President in April 2018.

Key Features of Bill

Fugitive economic offender (FEO): It has been defined as person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing an offence listed in schedule (enlisted in the this law) by any court in India, but he leaves or has left India to avoid criminal prosecution or  refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. It is applicable in cases where total value involved in such economic offences is Rs.100 crore or more.

Special Court: It establishes Special Court under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 to declare a person as FEO. The court will appoint ‘administrator’ to oversee confiscated property. It will be responsible for disposing of confiscated property and t property will be used to satisfy creditors’ claims.

Attachment of property: It empowers director or deputy director (appointed under Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) to attach any property mentioned in application with permission of special court. These properties can be attached provisionally without the prior permission of the special court for 30 days. The attachment will continue for 180 days, unless it is extended by special court. If at the conclusion of proceedings, person is not found to be FEO, his properties will be released.

Bar on filing or defending civil claims: The bill allows any civil court or tribunal to disallow person declared FEO, from filing or defending any civil claim. Further, any company or limited liability partnership where FEO is majority shareholder, then promoter, or a key managerial person (such as MD or CEO) will also be barred from filing or defending civil claims.

Powers of director: The director or deputy director will have powers vested of civil court. These powers include entering a place on the belief that individual is FEO and directing searching of building or seizing documents.

Appeal: Under this law, appeals against orders of special court will lie before High Court.

Background

There have been several instances of economic offenders (eg Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi) fleeing country to evade clutches Indian law to remain outside jurisdiction of Indian courts. The absence of such offenders from Indian courts has several deleterious consequences. It hampers investigation in criminal cases, wastes precious time of courts of law, undermines rule of law in India.

Further, most such cases of economic offences involve non-repayment of bank loans thereby worsening financial health of banking sector. Moreover, existing non-coherent civil and criminal provisions in law are not entirely adequate to deal with severity of problem. This bill will provide effective, expeditious and constitutionally permissible deterrent legal teeth to enforcing agencies to ensure that such actions of FEO are curbed.