Important Amendments by Parliament

  • The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019: The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 26th July, and in the Rajya Sabha on 30th July. It was introduced in the Parliament by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The Bill makes certain amendments to the Companies Act, 2013. Some of them are as follows: 
  1. If companies which have to provide for CSR, do not fully spent the funds, they must disclose the reasons for non-spending in their annual report.  After the amendment, any unspent annual CSR funds must be transferred to one of the funds under Schedule 7 of the Companies Act (e.g., PM Relief Fund) within six months of the financial year.
  2. Under the Act, certain classes of public companies are required to issue shares in dematerialised form only.  The Bill amends this to state that this may be prescribed for other classes of unlisted companies as well.  
  3. The Act requires companies to register charges (e.g., mortgages) on their property within 30 days of creation of charge, extendable upto 300 days with the permission of the RoC.  The Bill changes the deadline to 60 days (which is further extendable by 60 days). 
  4. Certain offences are also re-categorised as civil defaults. These offences include (i)issue of shares at a discount; (ii)failure to file annual return.
  • The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019: The Bill was introduced by our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The amendments have been made to ensure timely admission of insolvency cases and completion of corporate insolvency resolution process within the newly set deadline of 330 days. The bill was passed to provide clarification on the issues brought up in the Essar Steel case (pertaining to the preference of secured financial creditors over operational creditors in the matter of distribution of assets of the corporate debtor).  This is the third time that the government has brought amendments to the Act since its enactment in 2016. Nirmala Sitharaman also made it clear that the IBC was not looking to force companies into liquidation, but focused on their revival and continuing as going concern.
  • The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019: The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Mr. Jitendra Singh, on July 19, 2019. It amends certain provision of the Right to Information Act, 2005.  Key features of the Bill include:
  1. The tenure of office of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioners (IC) is no longer five years. The Central Government will notify the term of the office for the CICs and the ICs.
  2. The Bill amends the salaries paid to the CICs and the ICs. This also includes the deductions in their salaries (if they are being paid pension or any other retirement benefits for previous government service, their salaries will be reduced by an amount equal to the pension).
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019: The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Rajya Sabha by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Ms. Smriti Zubin Irani on July 18, 2019. The Bill seeks to amend certain provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.  
  1. The bill adds two more grounds to the definition of aggravated penetrative sexual assault. The Bill increases the minimum punishment from ten years to 20 years, and the maximum punishment has now been increased to death penalty.
  2. The Bill adds two more offences to the definition of aggravated sexual assault.
  3. The Bill defines child pornography and adds to more offences for storage of pornographic material involving children.
  • The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019: The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by Mr. Harshvardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare on June 27, 2019. The Bill seeks to amend the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and replaces the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019 which was promulgated on February 21, 2019.  The Act sets up the Medical Council of India (MCI) which regulates medical education and practice. The Bill will be effective from September 26, 2018. 
  1. The 1956 Act provides for supersession of the MCI and its reconstitution within a period of three years from the date of its supersession.  In the interim period, the Act requires the central government to constitute a Board of Governors, to exercise the powers of the MCI.
  2. The Act provides for the Board of Governors to consist of up to seven members including persons of eminence in medical education, appointed by the central government. The Bill amends this provision to increase the strength of the Board from seven members to 12 members.
  • The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019: This is one of the most important Bill passed in 2019. It protects the rights of women such that it makes triple talaq, or instant divorce, a criminal offence. The Bill was introduced by Minister of Law, Ravi Shankar Prasad. The declaration of triple talaq is now a cognisable offence which means the police can arrest the offender without a warrant. It provides for the justice, respect and dignity of Muslim women. However, to ensure that there is no misuse of this power, it can only be used if the complaint is filed by the aggrieved woman or a person in her relation by blood or marriage.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019: The amendment aims to improve road safety, enhance the penalties for traffic violations and curb corruption. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on July 23. The Bill was introduced in the Parliament by the Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari. The Bill provides for increases in penalties for traffic violations, tightening of road traffic regulations and protection to good Samaritans.


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