The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha today. A discussion on the Bill was initiated in the House. The Bill seeks to provide for the advancement of “economically weaker sections” of citizens.

Some key highlights:

  • The Bill seeks to amend Article 15 to additionally permit the government to provide for the advancement of “economically weaker sections”.
  • Up to 10% of seats may be reserved for such sections for admission in educational institutions.
  • The Bill seeks to amend Article 16 to permit the government to reserve up to 10% of all posts for the “economically weaker sections” of citizens.
  • The reservation of up to 10% for “economically weaker sections” in educational institutions and public employment will be in addition to the existing reservation.
  • The central government will notify the “economically weaker sections” of citizens on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic disadvantage.

In order for the Bill to be passed, a majority of two-thirds of members present and voting, which should be more than half of the total membership of the House, is required in both House of Parliament.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, as reported by Joint Parliamentary Committee, was passed in Lok Sabha. The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.  

Some key highlights from the Joint Committee Report Summary:

  • The Committee states that the Bill does not violate Article 14 (the right to equality) and Article 25 (the right to freedom of religion).
  • The Bill states that the central government may cancel registration of Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) if the OCI has violated any law in force.  The Committee recommends that the Bill should state that the registration for OCI may be cancelled if the OCI violates the Citizenship Act or other laws, as may be notified by the central government.  

The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha as well. The Bill regulates the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of persons in respect of matters listed in a Schedule: criminal matters (such as offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860), and civil matters such as parentage disputes, emigration or immigration, and transplantation of human organs.

Several members raised certain issues with the provisions of the Bill:

  • Consent requirements have not been specified in case of DNA profiling for civil matters
  • Raised concern related to violation of privacy

They also brought out comparison of DNA laws in other countries. To know more about how the use of DNA is regulated in other countries, refer to the table below:

The Trade Union (Amendment) Bill,2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha. The Bill amends the Trade Unions Act, 1926, which provides for the registration and regulation of trade unions.  

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was also introduced in Lok Sabha.

A discussion on the Indian Medical Council was initiated in Rajya Sabha but could not be concluded due to disruptions. The Winter Session was originally supposed to conclude today but Rajya Sabha has been adjourned to meet tomorrow. 

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