Q1. Discuss the salient features of ‘The Juvenile Justic ( Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill , 2014
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children)Bill, 2014 was introduced by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, in the LokSabha on August 12, 2014. It repeals the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
- Objectives: The Bill seeks to achieve the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children as ratified by India on December 11, 1992.
It specifies procedural safeguards in cases of children in conflict with law. It seeks to address challenges in the existing Act such as delays in adoption processes, high pendency of cases, accountability of institutions, etc. The Bill further seeks to address children in the 16-18 age group, in conflict with law, as an increased incidence of crimes committed by them have been reported over the past few years.
- Coverage: The Bill defines a child as anyone less than 18 years of age. However, a special provision has been inserted for the possibility of trying 16-18 year olds committing heinous offences, as adults. A
heinous offence is defined as one for which the minimum punishment under the Indian Penal Code is seven years.
- General principles: These include
- (i) principle of presumption of innocence for any child up to the age of 18 years;
- (ii) principle of best interest for all decisions taken regarding the child;
- (iii) principle of institutionalization stating that a child shall be placed in institutional care as a step of last resort, etc.
- Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs): One or more JJBs to be constituted, for each district, for dealing with children in conflict with law. JJBs are composed of a Metropolitan or Judicial Magistrate and two social
workers, one of whom shall be a woman.
- Powers and responsibilities of the JJBs include:
- (i) ensuring legal aid for a child;
- (ii) adjudicating and disposing of cases related to children in conflict with law;
- (iii) conducting regular inspection of adult jails to ensure no child is lodged in such jails and other inspection visits and;
- (iv) conducting inspection visits of residential facilities for such children.
years, after which he is transferred to a jail. During the child’s stay in the place of safety, reformative services such as counselling, etc. shall be provided.The Court shall ensure periodic follow up reports by
District Child Protection Units.
institutions is imprisonment up to one year or fine of one lakh rupees, or both. The penalty for giving a child intoxicating liquor, narcotic or psychotropic substances is imprisonment up to seven years or fine
of one lakh rupees, or both.
- The Apprentices (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 7, 2014. It proposes to amend the Apprentices Act, 1961.
- The Act regulates the training of apprentices in the industry. An Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) had recommended various changes to the Act to make apprenticeship more responsive to youth and industry.
The Statement of Objects and Reasons states that the amendments proposed in the Bill are based on IMG’s recommendations.
- Definitions: The Bill amends the definition of appropriate government to include an establishment operating in four or more states to be regulated by the central government. It also amends the definitions of:
(i) designated trade,
- Minimum age for an apprentice: The Act sets the minimum age for being engaged as an apprentice at 14 years. The Bill adds that the minimum age for apprenticeship in designated trades related to hazardous industries shall be 18 years.
- Number of apprentices: The Act says that the central government, after consulting the Central Apprenticeship Council (CAC) established under the Act shall determine the ratio of trade apprentices to workers (except unskilled workers) for each designated trade. The Bill states that the central government shall prescribe the number of apprentices to be engaged by an employer for designated trade
and optional trade.
- Cooperation between employers for training: The Bill permits multiple employers to come together, either themselves or through an approved agency (vs. only themselves as per the Act), to provide
apprenticeship training (vs. practical training as per the Act) to apprentices under them.
- Practical training to apprentices: The Act states that every employer shall make suitable arrangements in his workshop for imparting practical training to apprentices, as per the programme approved by the Adviser. The Bill removes the requirement for Adviser’s approval.
- Basic training to apprentices: The Act states that trade apprentices who have not received prior institutional training shall be imparted basic training before admission in the workshop for practical training. The Bill specifies that such training can be provided in any institute with adequate facilities.
- Syllabus and equipment for practical training:The Act states that the syllabus and equipment for practical training shall be as approved by the central government (with CAC consultation). The Bill limits
the provision for training in a designated trade only.
- Grant of certificate: The Act specifies that every trade apprentice should appear for a proficiency test conducted by the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT), on completion of his training. On passing the test, NCVT shall grant him a certificate of proficiency. The Bill adds that such tests may be conducted and certificates may be granted by other authorised agencies as well.
- Hours of work, overtime, leave and holidays: The Act states that the weekly and daily hours of work and leave entitlements of an apprentice shall be as prescribed by Rules. The Bill states that the hours of work and leave will be as per the discretion or policy of the employer.
- Offences and penalties: The Act specifies certain offences which are punishable with imprisonment upto six months or with a fine (quantum unspecified) or both. The Bill specifies the amount/maximum amount of the fine and removes the provision for imprisonment for such offences.
- Power to make Rules: The Act permits the central government (after consulting with the CAC) to make Rules for implementing the Act. The Bill states that these powers shall include the power to make Rules retrospectively with effect from a date on or after the President grants his assent to the Bill. No Rule shall have a retrospective effect if it prejudicially affects he interests of any person to whom such Rule may be applicable.
The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014
- The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 7, 2014. It proposes to amend the Factories Act, 1948.
- The Act aims to ensure adequate safety measures and promote the health and welfare of the workers employed in factories. The Statement of Objects and Reasons states that the amendments proposed in the Bill are based on the changes in the manufacturing practices and technologies, ratification of ILO conventions, judicial decisions, recommendations of various Committees and decisions taken in the conferences of Chief Inspectors of Factories.
- Definitions: The Act defines a factory as any premises (with certain exceptions) where manufacturing was undertaken with aid of power and at least 10 people were employed during the last 12 months (20 or more people if no power was used). The Bill specifies that the state government may raise the minimum number of workers employed in the definition to 20 (if power is used) and 40 (if power is not used).
- The Bill also amends the definitions of: (i) hazardous process, (ii) manufacturing process, (iii) occupier, and (iv) prescribed. It adds the definitions of: (i) hazardous substance, and (ii) disability
- Power to make Rules: The Act allows the state government to make Rules regarding various matters. The Bill grants the central government power to make Rules regarding some of these matters.
- The Act permits the state government to make Rules regarding any matter which: (i) is covered by the Act or may be prescribed, or (ii) is appropriate to give effect to the purposes of the Act. The Bill states that the state government’s power to make Rules will be restricted to matters where the central government does not have such powers. The central government may frame Rules in consultation with state governments, to bring uniformity in the areas of occupational safety, health or any other matter.
- Compounding of offences: The Bill seeks to permit the central or state government to prescribe the authorised officers and the amount, for compounding of the certain offences before commencement of the prosecution. The central or state governments may amend the list of compoundable offences.
- Employment of women and persons with disability: The Act prohibits women from working: (i) on certain machines in motion, (ii) near cotton-openers, and (iii) between 7:00 PM and 6:00 AM. The Bill seeks to remove the first two restrictions. It proposes to empower the state government to allow women to work during night hours in a factory or group of factories if: (i) there are adequate safeguards for safety, health and comfort of women (including night crèches, ladies’ toilets and transportation from the factory to their residence), and (ii) it has held due consultations with and obtained the consent of the women workers, the employer and the representative organisations of the employers and workers.
- The Bill seeks to impose restrictions on employment of pregnant women and persons with disability in certain works or processes.
- Manufacturer’s liability to ensure safety: The Act places the liability of ensuring that an article to be used in a factory is safe on the designer, importer, supplier or manufacturer. The Bill extends such liability to the designer, importer, supplier or manufacturer of any substance used in a factory.
- Workers’ safety: The Bill introduces provisions for: (i) supply of protective equipment and clothing to workers exposed to hazards, and (ii) rules regarding hazardous processes. It modifies the provisions regarding: (i) precautions against dangerous fumes and gases, (ii) explosive or inflammable dust or gas, and (iii) dangerous operations.
- Facilities for workers: The Act mandates a factory employing more than 150 people to provide shelters or restrooms. The Bill states that a factory with more than 75 workers should provide separate shelters or restrooms for male and female workers.
- Overtime and paid leave: The Bill increases the maximum number of overtime hours allowed to a worker and relaxes the provisions regarding entitlement of workers to paid leave.
- Penalties: The Act specifies the penalties for various offences. The Bill raises the penalties for 12 of these offences (including contraventions by the occupier or manager, a worker, or a designer, importer, supplier or manufacturer of an article or substance).
Highlights of the Bill
- The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 fixes liability for nuclear damage and specifies procedures for compensating victims.
- The Bill fixes no-fault liability on operators and gives them a right of recourse against certain persons. It caps the liability of the operator at Rs 500 crore. For damage exceeding this amount, and up to 300 million SDR, the central government will be liable.
- All operators (except the central government) need to take insurance or provide financial security to cover their liability.
- For facilities owned by the government, the entire liability up to 300 million SDR will be borne by the government.
- The Bill specifies who can claim compensation and the authorities who will assess and award compensation for nuclear damage.
- Those not complying with the provisions of the Bill can be penalised.
Key Issues and Analysis
- The liability cap on the operator (a) may be inadequate to compensate victims in the event of a major nuclear disaster; (b) may block India’s access to an international pool of funds; (c) is low compared to some other countries.
- The cap on the operator’s liability is not required if all plants are owned by the government. It is not clear if the government intends to allow private operators to operate nuclear power plants.
- The extent of environmental damage and consequent economic loss will be notified by the government. This might create a conflict of interest in cases where the government is also the party liable to pay compensation.
- The right of recourse against the supplier provided in the Bill is not compliant with international agreements India may wish to sign.
- The time-limit of ten years for claiming compensation may be inadequate for those suffering from nuclear damage.
- Though the Bill allows operators and suppliers to be liable under other laws, it is not clear which other laws will be applicable. Different interpretations by courts may constrict or unduly expand the scope of such a provision.
- The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty- First Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in the LokSabha on August 11, 2014 by the Minister of Law and Justice, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad.
- According to the Statement of Objects and Reason of the Bill, there is a need for a broad based National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC), for making recommendations for selection
of judges. The Bill seeks to enable equal participation of Judiciary and Executive, ensure that the appointments to the higher judiciary are more participatory, transparent and objective.
- The Constitution (121st Amendment) Bill amends the provisions of the Constitution related to the appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges, and the transfer of High Court judges.
- Creation of the NJAC: Article 124 (2) of the Constitution provides that the President will make appointments of Supreme Court (SC) and High Court(HC) judges after consultation with the Chief Justice of India and other SC and HC judges as he considers necessary. The Bill amends Article 124 (2) of the Constitution to provide for a Commission, to be known as the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). The NJAC would then make recommendations to the President for appointments of SC and HC judges.
- Composition of the NJAC: A new Article, Article 124A provides for the composition of the NJAC. The NJAC would consist of:
(i) Chief Justice of India (Chairperson) (ii) Two senior most Supreme Court Judges (iii) The Union Minister of Law and Justice (iv) Two eminent persons (to be nominated by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minster of India and the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha)
- Of the two eminent persons, one person would be from the SC/ST/OBC/minority communities or be a woman. The eminent persons shall be nominated for a period of three years and shall not be eligible
for re-nomination. Functions of the NJAC: A new Article, Article 124B, provides for the functions of the NJAC which include:
- (i) Recommending persons for appointment as Chief Justice of India, Judges of the Supreme Court, Chief Justices of High Courts and other Judges of High Courts;
(ii) Recommending transfer of Chief Justices and other Judges of High Courts from one High Court to any other High Court; and
(iii) Ensuring that the persons recommended are of ability and integrity.
- Power of Parliament to make law on procedures: A new Article, Article 124C, enables Parliament to pass a law to:
- (i) regulate the procedure of appointments, and (ii) empower the NJAC to lay down the procedure for its functioning, and manner of selection of persons for appointment, through regulations.