In three weeks since he took over, President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to six key legislations, including the one that extends the jurisdiction of trial in cases of maritime claims, arrests and detentions of ships to various courts. All the legislations, which got the presidential nod, were recently passed by Parliament.
The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017, which got the presidential assent recently, repeals two archaic laws — 156-year-old Admiralty Court Act, 1861, and 127-year-old Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890. A bill in this regard was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on April 24. The Lok Sabha passed the bill on March 10.
The colonial era legislations came into force when the country had only three major ports — Bombay, Calcutta and Madras. So, at present also, admiralty disputes could be decided by the high courts in these cities only. The new Act extends jurisdiction for maritime claims and vests it with the respective high courts and over the territorial waters of their respective jurisdictions.
The President has also approved the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) bill, 2017. Eleven lakh teachers appointed till March 2015 under the Right to Education (RTE) Act will now get time till 2019 to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for firming up their appointments, as per the new Act. The Rajya Sabha had on August 1 passed a bill in this regard. The Lok Sabha cleared the bill in July this year. As per the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which came into effect from April 1, 2010, these teachers were to acquire minimum qualifications within five years i.e. by March 31, 2015.
The President also approved the Collection of Statistics (Amendment) bill, 2017, which empowers the Centre to collect socio-economic and other statistical data from Jammu and Kashmir. A bill to amend Collection of Statistics Act, 2008, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on July 26 even as various opposition parties had objected to it saying it was not proper in view of Article 370 which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Lok Sabha approved the bill in April.
The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-private Partnership) bill, 2017, the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) bill, 2017 and the Footwear Design and Development Institute bill, 2017, have also got the presidential approval. The Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Act, 2017 grants statutory status to the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and declare them as ‘Institutions of National Importance’. There are 15 IIITs across the country.
The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Act, 2017 gives the status of national importance to the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) and Berhampur (Odisha). A bill to amend the National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research Act, 2007 (NITSER Act) was passed by the Rajya Sabha on July 16 and by the Lok Sabha on March 28 this year.
The Footwear Design and Development Institute Act, 2017, empowers the Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida to grant degrees and diplomas. It also declares the FDDI as an institution of national importance for the promotion and development of quality and excellence in education, research and training in all disciplines relating to footwear and leather products design and development.
The Footwear Design and Development Institute bill, 2017 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on July 24 and by the Lok Sabha on April 5.