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Eminent Ordinances Passed in 2020

Ordinances Passed in 2020
  1. Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020
    The Uttar Pradesh State government promulgated the Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020 which is also popularly labeled as �Love Jihad Law� by many people. The said law was enacted on 24th November 2020 by the state governor Anandiben Patil. The legislation deals with the regulation of religious conversions and forbids any particular religious conversion by force, coercion, allurement or any other undue influence. The states of Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh are also in line to enact such a law which prohibits inter-faith marriages with the sole or primary objective of religious conversion.

    The Ordinance explains conversion as renouncing one�s current faith and adopting another of the same. The law contains a particular procedure for any person looking to convert his/her religion and only if through the prescribed procedure the conversion has done, it will be considered valid and otherwise it shall be subject to criminal penalty.

    The law is in heavy criticism due to its severe penalties and a complex procedure. The Allahabad High Court also while quashing a FIR stated that �Right to choose a partner, irrespective of religion, is intrinsic to right to life and personal liberty�.
  2. Kerala Police (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020
    The Kerala Police (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was enacted on November 20, 2020 by the governor of the state Arif Mohammad Khan. The Ordinance is the amendment to the Kerala Police Act, 2011. The 2020 ordinance administers the powers and duties of the law enforcement agency in the state of Kerala. The amendment in section 118(a) confers to enforce punishment for offences related to threat, humiliation or defamation.

    The Ordinance proposes a criminal liability on any expression, publication or dissemination of threatening, abusive, defamatory or humiliating content made through any mode of communication punishable if the person does it knowing it to be false and damaging to reputation or mind of another person.

    The ordinance had landed various criticisms throughout the country and in the state of Kerala. The opposition states this legislation as an attack against the Article 19 of the Constitution of India which ensures Freedom of speech to every individual. The Editors Guild of India had also urged the Chief Minister of Kerala to withdraw such �Disturbing� legislation which not only suppresses the freedom of press but also provides the police agency with intemperate power to target any person under the cover of this Ordinance.

    However the Kerala Government has decided to withdraw this Ordinance to revise its consequences. The Chief Minister of Kerala has stated that the Ordinance was promulgated to curb defamation and the spread of fake news but due to such apprehensions which were raised after the enactment of this Ordinance the matter has been taken to reconsideration.
  3. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020
    The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated on November
  4. 2020 by the President of India.
    The primary objective of the Act is to assure that all the stakeholders get an opportunity to seek for unconditional stay of enforcement of arbitral awards where the underlying arbitration agreement or contract or making of the arbitral award are induced by fraud or corruption.

    The Ordinance amends the �automatic stay on awards� clause of the principal act and the 2015 amendment of the principal act. The ordinance provides that a stay on arbitral can be provided even during the pendency of the setting aside application if the court is satisfied that the concerned arbitral agreement or arbitral award was brought through fraud or corruption. Further, after this amendment the courts will have to be more careful in granting an unconditional stay on enforcement of the arbitral award.
  5. The insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2020
    The insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 was promulgated by the President of India on 5 June, 2020. The principal Code (IBC 2016) provides a corporate debtor as well as its creditors to constitute corporate insolvency resolution process in case of insolvency. The 2020 Amendment Ordinance by introducing section 10(a) prorogates any such proceedings for defaults arising during the six months from 25 March 2020 (extendable up-to one year). The government believes that the lockdown initiated due to COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to various businesses. This non-functioning of businesses might led them into insolvency and therefore the promulgation of this amendment is necessary.

    The proviso after section 10(a) of the Amendment states that no application for corporate insolvency resolution process shall ever be filed against a corporate debtor for any default occurring during the suspension period. This may result in a scenario where creditors are unable to hold the company liable for these defaults even after the company is in the capacity to repay.

  6. The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020
    The President of India on 22 April, 2020 promulgated the Epidemic Disease (Amendment) Ordinance 2020. The Ordinance amends the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897. The principal Act provides for prevention against the spread of any disease which is dangerous for human life. The Ordinance amends the Act to ensure the protection and safety of healthcare personnel working against prevention from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Ordinance defines healthcare personnel as any person who is in direct contact with affected patients or at a risk of being impacted by such disease while carrying out his/her responsibilities related to the epidemic.
    These healthcare personnel include:
    • public and clinical healthcare providers such as doctors and nurses,
    • any person empowered under the Act to take measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease, and
    • Other persons designated as such by the state government.

      The Ordinance provides for enforcement of criminal liability against any person who initiates any �act of violence� against the healthcare personnel. The criminal liability consists of an imprisonment between three months and five years, and a fine between Rs 50,000/- and 2,00,000/-. The ordinance further provides that the trail against the person guilty of above said offence should be concluded within one year.
  7. The Farmers� Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020
    The Farmers� Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated by the President of India on 5 th June 2020. This Ordinance provides for institution of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of farmer�s produce which facilitates higher prices for commodities due to competitive alternative trading channels.

    The Ordinance�s primary objective is to increase the availability of buyers for farmers� product by providing them with the options of intra-state and inter-state trade.
    These outside premises includes:
    • the physical premises of market yards run by market committees formed under the state APMC Acts and
    • Other markets notified under the state APMC Acts.

      The Ordinance further permits the electronic trading of scheduled farmers� produce in the specified trade area. The Ordinance restrains the state government from levying any market fee, cess or levy on farmers, traders, and electronic trading platforms.

      This ordinance is right now in the question due to the backlash of farmers especially from the state of Punjab and Haryana.
  8. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020
    The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated by the President of India on 5 th June 2020. This Ordinance aims for a national well-designed structure on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farms services.

    This Ordinance provides for an agreement between farmer and a buyer prior to the production of any crops. The agreement shall be for a minimum time period of one crop season, or one production cycle of livestock. The maximum period of the agreement is five years unless the production cycle is more than five years.

    The Ordinance also provides for conciliation incase of any dispute between the farmer and the buyer. The farming agreement must provide a conciliation board for dispute resolution. If the ispute remains unresolved by the board, parties may approach the SDM for resolution. The parties may also approach appellate authority in case they are not satisfied with the decision of the magistrate.
  9. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020
    The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated by the President of India on 5 th June 2020. This Ordinance amends the principal Act (Essential Commodities Act, 1955).

    The Ordinance is promulgated for the purpose of increasing the competitiveness in the agriculture sector and enhancing the income of the farmers. The ordinance provides that the government may administer the production, supply, distribution and trade of essential commodities only under extra-ordinary circumstances. These circumstances consist of:
    1. war,
    2. famine,
    3. extraordinary price rise and
    4. natural calamity of grave nature.
The Ordinances demands that imposition of any stock limit on agriculture produce must be on the basis of change in prices. The Ordinance may help the farmer by attracting private investment in cold storage, warehouses etc. The ordinance may also bring stability in prices and raise farmer�s income.

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