1. Parliament Passes Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill To Strengthen Child Protection; Empower District Magistrates To Authorise Adoption Orders
The Rajya Sabha passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021. It was cleared by the Lok Sabha on March 24, 2021, purportedly to "strengthen the child protection setup under the 2015 Act".
The Bill inter alia, seeks to re-define the category of "serious offences" under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and further, empower the District Magistrates to pass adoption orders.
Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Zubin Irani, highlighted that Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) take a lot of time to process adoption of children. Thus, Amendment Bill provides for conditions under which CWCs have to function and report to the District Magistrate to process the adoption in a timely manner.
Re-defines Serious offences:- Section 2(54) of the JJ Act provides that a serious offence is one for which the punishment under prescribed is between 3-7 years. Such offences are to be disposed of by the Board, by following the procedure for trial in summons cases under the CrPC.
To give effect to the above recommendation, the Bill proposes to redefine 'serious offences' to include such offences for which the punishment is:
minimum imprisonment for a term of 3-7 years;
maximum imprisonment for a term more than 7 years but no minimum imprisonment or minimum imprisonment of less than 7 years.
The Union Minister said, "It was observed that there is significant delay in finalisation of adoption cases in Courts. Besides, these adoption cases are non-adversarial in nature and to be dealt according to well laid out process. Hence, it is proposed to culminate the adoption process at the level of District Magistrate in the District."
It provides that no person shall be eligible for selection as a member of the CWC, if he:
has any past record of violation of human rights or child rights
has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude, and such conviction has not been reversed or has not been granted full pardon in respect of such offence
has been removed or dismissed from service of the Government of India or State Government or an undertaking or corporation owned or controlled by the Government of India or State Government
has ever indulged in child abuse or employment of child labour or immoral act or any other violation of human rights or immoral acts
is part of management of a child care institution in a District.
Source: Bar & Bench
2. COVID- "Policy Of 'Testing, Tracking And Treatment' Needs To Be Implemented In Bihar": Patna High Court
Emphasizing that the policy of "Testing, Tracking, and Treatment" needs to be implemented in Bihar with greater vigor, the Patna High Court on Tuesday observed that significant role played by the Media can help to prevent the pain, suffering, and anguish of people during the anticipated 3rd wave of Covid-19.
The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar perused the affidavit filed on behalf of the State Government (pursuant to Court's last order) and noted that on the issue of vaccination, it was vague, inasmuch as it did not specify the number of persons eligible to be vaccinated, more specifically in the rural areas.
"Whether sufficient number of doses of vaccines are available with the Government or not? If not so, then as to whether the request for enhanced quota for allotment stands made to the Union of India or not?... The affidavit does state that 71 percent of the urban population of the State stands vaccinated, but then it is conspicuously silent with regard to the eligible population falling within the rural area," noted the Court.
The Court further observed that the State Government had launched a campaign termed Mission Mode "Six Crores in Six Months" and as of 21st of July, 2021, 2.20 Cr. Doses of vaccines were administered, but then, the Court remarked:
"Should this process be not hastened up is what we are desirous to know. Is it on account of lack of availability of vaccination; availability of the infrastructure required for inoculation; or on account of reluctance/ hesitation on the part of the people in getting themselves vaccinated?"
Therefore, the Court directed the Principal Secretary (Health), Government of Bihar, Patna to file a supplementary affidavit focusing broadly, on two aspects i.e. vaccination and availability of health infrastructure at the district/sub-divisional level, both, generally and required for dealing with Covid-19 and listed the matter for further hearing on July 30.
Lastly, the Court also added that the role of Media becomes imperative in sensitizing the people of the need to continue to maintain their hand, respiratory and social hygiene, most significantly maintaining social distancing at public places.
Source: Bar & Bench
3. IBC Amendment Bill Passed In Lok Sabha To Allow Pre-Packaged Insolvency Process For MSMEs
The Lok Sabha passed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021. It was introduced in the house on Monday, July 26 and passed without any discussion due to disruptions caused by opposition protests.
As per the Government, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a hit on the businesses, especially micro, small or medium enterprises (MSME sector) which is critical to the economy considering their significant contribution to the GDP and employment generation.
Thus, the bill proposes pre-packaged insolvency resolution process for corporate debtors under the MSME Development Act, 2006. This, the Government says, will ensure "quicker, cost-effective and value maximizing outcomes for all the stakeholders, in a manner which is least disruptive to the continuity of their businesses and which preserves jobs".
The Bill will replace the IBC Amendment Ordinance promulgated by the President on April 4, 2021. It provides for—
specifying a minimum threshold of not more than one crore rupees for initiating pre-packaged insolvency resolution process;
disposal of simultaneous applications for initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process and pre-packaged insolvency resolution process, pending against the same corporate debtor;
inserting a new Chapter III-A containing sections 54A to 54P to facilitate pre-packaged insolvency resolution process for corporate persons that are MSMEs;
penalty for fraudulent or malicious initiation of pre-packaged insolvency resolution process or with intent to defraud persons;
penalty for fraudulent management of corporate debtor during pre-packaged insolvency resolution process; and
punishment for offences related to pre-packaged insolvency resolution process.
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