With polling in Gujarat state elections ending Thursday, the Union Cabinet will take up for approval on Friday a slew of bills including the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill which makes instant triple talaq a penal offence with a three-year imprisonment for the guilty.
A change in the Negotiable Instruments Act is also listed for Cabinet approval which, as reported by The Indian Express last April, tightens the screws on bouncing of cheques and other promissory notes by banning an offender from appealing a trial court’s order unless he deposits a certain sum of the disputed amount.
The Cabinet will consider the National Medical Commission Bill to replace the controversial Medical Council of India with a new commission to steer medical education in the country as well as the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill which treats a trafficked person who gets into prostitution as a victim rather than offender and proposes punishment of up to 14 years for traffickers.
Going by the advice of the Delhi BJP unit, the NDA government will also consider extending the exemption granted to “illegal constructions” in the national capital territory until December 31, 2020 under the NCT of Delhi (Special Laws Provision) Act 2014. The rules regulating the use of land and buildings in Delhi lapse on January 1, 2018.
Also on the agenda is the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to simplify norms for “ease of doing business” incorporating changes suggested by a five-member committee to remove bottlenecks in the execution of contract-based infrastructure development, public-private partnerships and other public projects.
These bills, along with one to replace the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Ordinance, need Cabinet approval so that they can be introduced in the winter session of Parliament which begins December 15.
Besides legislation, the Cabinet’s agenda contains a special package for the leather and footwear industry to generate employment in the wake of the setback to the informal sector following the introduction of GST; continuation of Centrally sponsored scheme of National AYUSH Mission until March 31, 2020 from the termination date of April 1, 2017; and a new North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme.
Incidentally, a Bill granting non-resident Indians the power to vote through postal or e-ballots does not feature on the agenda.