State Current Affairs - 2020

Andhra Pradesh Cabinet nods to abolish Legislative Council

On January 27, 2020, the Andhra Pradesh cabinet cleared to abolish Legislative Council. It is to be noted that the Legislative Council stalled two bills that were passed by the assembly. It includes AP Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill and Decentralization bill.

State Legislative Council

Andhra Pradesh is one of the few states to have bicameral legislature. The states with legislative council includes Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.

Constitutional Provisions

Article 169 of the constitution defines Legislative Council. As of November 2019, there are 6 states with State Legislative Council. The members of the State Legislative Council are selected in the following way

  • One-third are elected from the local bodies such as Gram Panchayat, municipalities and district councils.
  • One-third are elected by members of State Legislative Assembly.
  • One-Sixth of the members are nominated by the governor
  • One-twelfth are graduates who have resided for three years in the state
  • One-twelfth are teaching professions.

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Rajasthan Assembly passes Anti-Lynching Bill

Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019 was passed by Rajasthan Assembly by a voice vote. Bill was introduced by Shanti Dhariwal Parliamentary Affairs Minister in State Assembly on 30 July 2019.

With passage of Anti-Lynching Bill Rajasthan has become 2nd State after Manipur to have a dedicated legislation that criminalises mob lynching as a special offence. Manipur Assembly had passed a similar Bill in December 2018.

Background

Since April 2017, Rajasthan has witnessed several incidents of mob lynching, when Haryana’s dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was killed allegedly by a mob of cow vigilantes on Jaipur-Delhi national highway.

Features of Bill

Punishment: Bill makes Mob Lynching offence cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offences. Life imprisonment and a fine up to Rs.5 lakh to convicts in cases of mob lynching involving victim’s death.

Bill makes conspirators for lynching accountable. It specifies punishment for- conspiracy/abetment/aides/attempts to lynch; for dissemination of offensive material; and for enforcing a hostile environment.

Nodal Officer: Bill provides for appointment of a nodal officer of rank of Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to prevent lynchings as well as establishment of relief camps in safe zones for victims.

Definition of lynching: Bill defines lynching as an act of violence, whether spontaneous/planned by a mob on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, sexual orientation, language, dietary practices, ethnicity and political affiliation.

Criticism: Indian Penal Code (IPC) already have sufficient provisions to penalise offenders, while Bill had changed an important definition by describing just two persons as a mob, thus contradicts related provisions of IPC. Also, Supreme Court had recommended only to Parliament to enact such a law.

Arguments: The subject of Bill was part of concurrent list (both state nad centre subjects) and thus State government has power to bring such legislation. Also, definition of mob as 2 or more persons is defended in context that 2 people had ability to grievously harm 3rd person.

Significance: Bill could become a progressive law, which would promote social harmony.

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