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IMPORTANT INDIAN LEGISLATIONS

1.            Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996

Arbitration is form of an Alternative Dispute Resolution, ensuring better out of court solution to a dispute and also reducing the burden of the court. This act lays down basic guidelines to successfully conduct an Arbitration. It can only take place if both parties have agreed to it and as such an arbitration agreement may be in the form of an arbitration clause in a contract or in the form of a separate agreement also. If not so, the parties can later decide to initiate arbitration proceedings.

 

Arbitral Award

The decision of the arbitration is called an award and the parties are legally bound by it. No decree is necessary for enforcement of award, the arbitration award is executable on its own.

Subject matter of arbitration can be any commercial matter including an action in tort if it arises out of or relates to a contract can be referred to arbitration. However, public policy would not permit matrimonial matters, criminal proceedings, insolvency matters anti-competition matters or commercial court matters to be referred to arbitration.

Important Definitions:-

1.    Arbitration is settling of dispute between two or more parties, for determination, in a judicial manner, by a person or persons other than a court of competent jurisdiction.

2.    International commercial arbitration is an arbitration where at least one of the parties is a national or resident in any country other than India or a body corporate which is incorporated in any country other than India or a company or association or a body of individuals whose ‘central management and control’ is exercised in any country other than India.

3.    Mediation is an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) method where a neutral and impartial third party, the mediator, facilitates dialogue in a structured multi-stage process to help parties reach a conclusive and mutually satisfactory agreement.

4.    Conciliation is the amicable settlement of disputes between the parties, with the help of a conciliator. The conciliation proceedings can start when one of the parties makes a written request to other to conciliate, briefly identifying the dispute. The conciliation can start only if other party accepts in writing the invitation to conciliate.

 

2.            Consumer Protection Act, 1986

The Act was enacted to protect the interest of consumer on account of ‘defects in goods’ or ‘deficiency in services’ in consumer products. The priority of the act is to safeguard consumer’s right of quality goods and services.

It provides for a three-tier quasi–judicial machinery for consumer redressal: 

1.    National Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum

2.    State Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums

3.    District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums

The order of the N.C.D.R.C. can be challenged only in the Supreme Court. The jurisdiction of the above forums is based on compensation that can be claimed by the affected consumer.

The pecuniary limit is as follows;

1.    up to Rs.20 lakhs – District Forum

2.    up to Rs.1 crore – State Commission

3.    above Rs.1 crore in the N.C.D.R.C.

Legal Knowledge-

December 24- National Consumer Day.

March 15- World Consumer Rights Day.

 

3.            Juvenile Justice Act, 2000

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 has been legislated adopting the policy of ‘no imprisonment for children’ for any offence. The Crimes committed by those under the age of 18, fall under this act.

 

The Act deals with two categories of children;

1.    Child in need of care and protection, and

2.    Juvenile in conflict of law.

 

Under Act, each category of children are kept in separate care-houses. Child himself can appear before the Competent Authority and demand his/her rights, on failure of the guardian to do so.

 

Salient features of the act;

a)    Juvenile cannot be kept in police lock-up or jail.

b)    Juveniles cannot be treated or sentenced in the same manner as the adult criminals.

c)     Cases involving juveniles are tried by juvenile Justice board and not by regular courts.

d)    Juvenile Justice board consists of magistrate and two social workers.

e)     The case is decided by majority of presiding judges.

f)      If a Juvenile criminal is convicted, at maximum he gets three years in a reform facility. Thereafter he must be released on probation.

g)     Juvenile can only be kept at the special home till he attains 18 years of age.

h)    Capital punishment (hanging) or life imprisonment cannot be imposed on a Juvenile offender, irrespective of the gravity of the crime.

i)      Act has the provision for setting up Special Juvenile Police Unit in every police station. These units are supposed to identify the children who are vulnerable to engaging in criminal behavior, and extend help to them.

 

4.            Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

It is also called the anti-drug law in India the regulates cultivation of opium poppy, cannabis and coca plants. Production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transport, warehousing, use, consumption, import, export or trans-shipment of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance is illegal without proper license; except for medical and scientific purposes, which also are governed as per the rules or orders or conditions of license issued to any person/institution for use.

 

NDPS Act empowers central government to frame rules for certain purposes and state governments to frame rules for certain others. Thus, there are NDPS Rules, 1985 of the central government and state NDPS Rules of different states. Violation of any rule of either the state or central NDPS Rules attracts punishment under the NDPS Act. All offences committed under any law by persons under the age of 18 will be covered by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. This Act seeks to reform such juveniles rather than punish them under the respective Acts, as drug abuse has seriously affected the youth of today.

 

5.            Right to Education Act, 2010

This legislation entails an obligation of Government to provide free and compulsory elementary education to every child in the six to fourteen age group in the school established by the state educational authorities. The act also makes provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class. Further, it specifies the duties and responsibilities of appropriate Governments, local authority and parents in providing free and compulsory education, and sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments.

The act lays down the norms and standards relating inter alia to Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs), buildings and infrastructure, school-working days, teacher-working hours. It provides for appointment of appropriately trained teachers, i.e. teachers with the requisite entry and academic qualifications for appointment. 

 

It prohibits the following;

(a) physical punishment and mental harassment;

(b) screening procedures for admission of children;

(c) capitation fee;

(d) private tuition by teachers and

(e) running of schools without recognition.

 

Lastly, it provides for development of curriculum in consonance with the values enshrined in the Constitution, and which would ensure the all-round development of the child, building on the child’s knowledge, potentiality and talent and making the child free of fear, trauma and anxiety through a system of child friendly and child centered learning. The ground reality and the execution of the act is in contrast with the provisions as laid down by the act, but serious and sincere efforts are required to achieve the constitutional purpose of the act. 

 

6.            Right to Information Act, 2005

The Act primarily envisages setting out a practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority. Every information held by or under the control of a public authority is accessible to a citizen, unless an information is exempt from disclosure by the act itself.

 

Meaning of Information: Any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mail, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, log books, contacts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any law for the time being in force.

 

The applicant need not to give any reason for requisitioning the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him.

 

7.            The Advocates Act, 1961

This act governs establishment of Bar Council of India and State Bar Councils for the regulation of legal profession and legal education.The Bar Council of India is the central institution for supervising and monitoring the growth and development of legal services and the functioning of advocates and related firms and corporations in India.

 

Classification of Advocates

The Roll of Advocates maintained by the Supreme Court or the High Court is divided into two classifications; Advocate and Senior Advocate. A Senior Advocate is designated by the Supreme Court or any High Court based on his ability or special knowledge in the field of law.

 

Qualification for enrollment of advocates in State Bar Councils

The Advocates Act in Section 24 stipulates that one must be at least 21 years old and must possess a law degree from a valid law college, to become an enrolled advocate. Under the Advocates Act 1961, only advocates enrolled in India are entitled to practice the profession of law.

 

Advertising in Legal Profession

There is a complete ban on advertising for lawyers in India. It is against an advocate’s code of ethics to solicit or advertise work and amounts to a misconduct on the part of the advocate. Both direct and indirect advertising is prohibited. Advertising on the internet is also prohibited.

 

8.            The Companies Act, 2013

The Indian Companies Act 2013 replaced the Indian Companies Act, 1956. This is a landmark legislation with far-reaching consequences on all companies incorporated in India.

 

Salient features,

a)    Class action suits for Shareholders: The Companies Act 2013 has introduced new concept of class action suits with a view of making shareholders and other stakeholders, more informed and knowledgeable about their rights. It also provides for approvals from shareholders on various significant transactions made by the company.

b)    Women empowerment in the corporate sector: The Act stipulates appointment of at least one-woman Director on the Board (for certain class of companies).

c)     Corporate Social Responsibility: It stipulates certain class of Companies to spend a certain amount of money every year on activities/initiatives reflecting Corporate ‘Social’ Responsibility.

d)    National Company Law Tribunal: The Companies Act 2013 introduced The National Company Law Tribunal and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal to replace the Company Law Board and Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction. They would reduce the burden on regular courts while simultaneously providing specialized justice.

e)     Fast Track Mergers: The Act proposes a fast track and simplified procedure for mergers and amalgamations of certain class of companies such as holding and subsidiary, and small companies after obtaining approval of the Indian government.

f)      Cross Border Mergers: The Companies Act 2013 permits cross border mergers, both ways; a foreign company merging with an India Company and vice versa but with prior permission of Reserve Bank of India.

g)     Prohibition on forward dealings and insider trading: The Companies Act 2013 prohibits directors and key managerial personnel from purchasing call and put options of shares of the company, if such person is reasonably expected to have access to price-sensitive information.

h)    Increase in number of Shareholders: The Companies Act 2013 increased the number of maximum shareholders in a private company from 50 to 200.

i)      One Person Company: The Act grants new form of private company, that being one-person company. It may have only one director and one shareholder. The Companies Act 1956 requires minimum two shareholders and two directors in case of a private company.

j)      Electronic Mode: The Companies Act, 2013 proposed E-Governance for various company processes like maintenance and inspection of documents in electronic form, option of keeping of books of accounts in electronic form, financial statements to be placed on company’s website, etc.

 

9.            The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881

This act governs negotiable instruments. Promissory Notes, Bills of Exchange and Cheques are called ‘negotiable instruments’.

Public Holidays (national holidays) are declared under this Act.

 

Salient features of the act;

a)    The dishonor of a cheque can be caused by an irregularity with the cheque itself or insufficient funds in the drawer's account to meet payment of the cheque.

b)    When a cheque has been dishonored, prompt action must be taken by the principal or the administrative officer to seek payment for the amount of the dishonored cheque and any fees charged by the bank.

c)     Proper accounting procedures must be followed to record the dishonored cheque and the subsequent outcome of the recovery action taken.

d)    Dishonour of cheques is punishable up to 1 year of imprisonment and fine or both under Section 138 of this Act.

 

10.         Transfer of Property Act, 1882

The Transfer of Property Act, 1882 regulates the transfer of property in India. It contains specific provisions regarding what constitutes a transfer and the conditions attached to it.

According to the Act, 'transfer of property' means an act by which a person conveys/transfers the property from one person(s) to another person(s). The person may include an individual, company or association or body of individuals, and any kind of property may be transferred, including the transfer of immovable property.

 

Property is broadly classified into the following categories:

1.    Immovable Property (excluding standing timber, growing crops, and grass)

2.    Movable Property

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