RS passes Aadhaar, Dentists Bills; LS discusses amendments to NIA Act and UAPA, process to appoint NHRC chief

  • Rajya Sabha passed an amendment bill which allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity for users to open bank accounts, get mobile phone connection

  • A Bill to do away with mandatory representation for practising dentists not holding qualification in the Dentist Councils at different levels was passed

  • A bill which seeks to allow an individual suspected to have terror links to be designated as a 'terrorist' was introduced in Lok Sabha

The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the Aadhaar Amendment Bill which allows the voluntary use of Aadhaar as proof of identity to open bank accounts and get mobile phone connection.

The Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote, also provides for a Rs 1 crore penalty and a jail term for private entities violating provisions on Aadhaar data. The amendments provide for use of Aadhaar number for KYC authentication on voluntary basis under the Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was passed by the Lok Sabha on 4 July.

 RS passes Aadhaar, Dentists Bills; LS discusses amendments to NIA Act and UAPA, process to appoint NHRC chief

Parliamentarians observe silence ahead of the Rajya Sabha session's commencement on Monday. PTI

The Upper House also passed the Dentists (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to amend the Dentists Act, 1948. The Bill sought to do away with mandatory representation for practising dentists not holding qualification in the Dentist Councils at different levels.

"This is a very simple legislation. It will certainly give proper proportion in Dental Council of India to qualified dental surgeons and they will be able to exercise their duties in a far better manner and it will be reflected in better quality of dental education through the control of the Dental Council of India in the country," Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.

He further said the Health Ministry was already in the advanced stage of drafting a National Oral Health Policy exclusively dedicated to oral health which includes dentistry. TMC’s Santanu Sen, JD(U)’s Ram Nath Thakur, BJD’s Prasanna Acharya, CPI’s K Somaprasad, YSRCP’s V Vijayasai Reddy, TRS’ K Keshava Rao, BSP’s Ashok Siddharth and SP’s Vishambhar Prasad Nishad voiced support for the Bill.

Meanwhile, in the Lok Sabha, a Bill seeking amendment to the existing Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to allow an individual suspected to have terror links to be designated as a 'terrorist' was introduced and termed draconian by the Opposition. As of now, only organisations are designated as 'terrorist organisations'.

Opposing the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, NK Premchandran (RSP) claimed that in the name of tackling terror, fundamental rights of an individual cannot be foregone, while Shashi Tharoor called the bill “hastily brought”.

Another Bill seeking to further strengthen the National Investigation Agency (NIA) by giving it powers to probe terror attacks targeting Indians and Indian interests on foreign soil was also introduced in the Lower House. The legislation will also allow the NIA probe cyber crimes and cases of human trafficking. Tharoor alleged that the Bill was "not based on logic", was a "piecemeal" legislation and does not insulate the NIA from political interference, he said.

Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan introduced the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha for strengthening rights of consumers and providing a mechanism for redressal of complaints regarding defects in goods and deficiency in services. The Bill, if passed, will replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It was passed in December last year in Lok Sabha but could not pass through Rajya Sabha and got lapsed.

Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel tabled a Bill in the Lok Sabha, which seeks to remove the Congress president as a permanent member in a trust that runs the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial to make the body "apolitical". The amendment Bill also paves way for the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha to be a member of the trust. The amendment Bill also confers power to the central government to terminate the term of a nominated trustee before the expiry of the term without assigning any reason.

The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019, was introduced by Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri in the Lok Sabha to facilitate the smooth and speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants from government residences which will then be available for allotment to eligible persons.

The Centre has to evict unauthorised occupants from government accommodations under the provisions of the PPE Act, 1971. However, the eviction proceedings take unusually long time, thereby reducing the availability of government accommodations to new incumbents. Under the proposed Bill, the estate officer can initiate summary eviction proceedings, instead of serving notice or issuing show-cause.

A Bill to change the process of appointment of chairperson and members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was introduced by Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy, amid the Opposition’s allegation that the Bill was an attempt to undermine the institution.

A key change proposed in the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019, is that a retired Supreme Court judge could also be considered for the chairpersons position, currently reserved for former Chief Justice of India. The members could be picked from a pool of retired Chief Justices of High Courts, the Bill further suggested. Currently, a serving or retired SC judge is considered.

The DNA Technology Regulation Bill, which seeks to control the use of DNA technology for establishing the identity of a person, was introduced in Lok Sabha six months after it lapsed as it could not be cleared in Rajya Sabha. Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury opposed the Bill, owing to its violation of fundamental rights as DNA of undertrials can be collected without court orders.

The Bill envisages that every data bank will maintain indices like the crime scene index, suspects' or undertrials' index, offenders' index, missing persons' index and unknown deceased persons' index. The legislation also seeks to establish a DNA Regulatory Board, which accredits every laboratory that analyses DNA samples.

A Bill to set up a central university and a tribal university in Andhra Pradesh was also introduced in Lok Sabha by HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank’.

Updated Date: Jul 08, 2019 21:10:43 IST