New Delhi: Following the landslide victory of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Lok Sabha elections conducted earlier this year, two Parliament sessions have been witnessed– wherein some of the most controversial bills got Parliament’s clearance.
While some bills saw a smooth sailing, others witnessed heated debates in Parliament with the opposition staging a walkout.
Recently, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act made headlines following its passage in Parliament. Scores of people from all walks of life protested against the contentious Act, demanding CAA be revoked- on the concern that it makes religion a criterion for granting citizenship, which in turns, violates the spirit of the Indian Constitution. The protests, though have simmered down, are still continuing across India.
Here’s a list of landmark and controversial legislations that were in the news this year:
The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019: The RTI Act, which was passed by Parliament on June 15, 2005, and came into force on October 13, 2005, sets out a regime that allows citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority.
This Act allowed a five-year term or until the age of 65, whichever is earlier. The amendment says that the appointment will be “for such term as may be prescribed by the central government.”
In the original Act, the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) was paid as much as the Chief Election Commissioner and the Information Commissioners were paid as much as Election Commissioners. The amendment provides for salaries to be prescribed by the Centre.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019: The bill for amendments to the UAPA was passed by Parliament on August 2 and it received the President’s assent on August 9. The amended Act allows the Centre to designate individuals as terrorists and seize their properties.
The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 also provides for putting a travel ban on such individuals once they are declared as terrorists.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019: The new law The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 makes talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband void and illegal.
It makes it illegal to pronounce talaq three times in spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat in one sitting.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019: Parliament gave its nod to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill that proposes hefty penalties for violating traffic norms including Rs 10,000 fine for not giving way to emergency vehicles and an equal penalty for driving despite disqualification.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019: Parliament on August 6 approved a resolution abrogating special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, and a bill for splitting the state into two Union Territories– Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019: According to the Act, Indian citizenship will be provided to the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years currently even if they do not possess any document.