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Parliament today & last week: A black money tax bill passed, whistleblowers tabled (after GST, Juve Justice, Pecuniary & more)

PRS Legislative Research Trina Roy reports:


Lok Sabha today passed the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015.   The Bill penalizes the concealment of foreign income, and provides for criminal liability for attempting to evade tax in relation to foreign income.

At the beginning of the debate, various members of the opposition urged that the Bill be sent to a Parliamentary Committee for examination. Members from the opposition pointed out that the Bill contains other substantial provisions alongside taxation proposals. Members felt that the Bill, though a money Bill, required greater legislative scrutiny. However, the Speaker ruled that the discussion on the Bill should begin.

During the debate members pointed out that while they do support the Bill, it could be further strengthened. Members sought clarifications about how the Bill treats ‘black money’ differently from certain provisions given in the Income Tax Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Members further suggested that a legislation addressing the issue of domestic tax evasion and the related black money generated must be brought in soon.

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha. During introduction several members raised objections stating that a similar Bill had been passed by the House previously. However, the Speaker overruled such objections as currently no identical bill to the one being introduced is pending in the house.

The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was also introduced in the lower house.  You can read a comparison of the provisions of the Whistleblowers Protection(Amendment) 2015 with that of the 2013 proposed amendments here.

Rajya Sabha was unable to take up scheduled business of the day due to repeated disruptions.

Week Wrap:

On Friday Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha both saw repeated disruptions. While Rajya Sabha was unable to take take up the scheduled business, Lok Sabha took up private member bills.

During last week a number of important legislations were passed by both the houses.

Lok Sabha passed the Constitutional (122ndAmendment) Bill, 2014 to rollout the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The Bill envisages a unified comprehensive indirect tax system.  Various central, state and local taxes will be subsumed under the GST.   The Bill gives the central and state governments the concurrent power to make laws on the taxation of goods and services.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) was also passed by the Lower House. The Bill replaces the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and addresses children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection. The Bill permits juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences.

Rajya Sabha passed the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2014 during the week. The Bill increases pecuniary jurisdiction of the high court of Delhi.  The Delhi high court as the Bill provides will now have jurisdiction over suits which are above the value of Rs 2 crore.

Rajya Sabha also passed the Repealing and Amending 2014 and 2015 Bill this week. Both the bills passed by the upper house repeal certain obsolete enactments.

The Constitutional (119th) Amendment Bill was passed by both the houses unanimously. The Bill amends the First Schedule of the Constitution to ratify an agreement entered into by India and Bangladesh on the acquiring and transfer of territories between the two countries on May 16, 1974.

Three new bills were introduced during the week. These were: the National Waterways Bill; the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill;and  the Homoeopathy Central Council ( Amendment) Bill.

Two Standing Committee Reports on the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2014 and the Rights of Persons with Disabilites Bill, 2014 were submitted.

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill was sent to a Select Committee in Rajya Sabha. The Committee must submit its report by the first week of the Monsoon Session.  To know more about the features and related issues you can read our detailed analysis here.

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