Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022:
The Union Government tabled the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 in Parliament.
- The objective is to “decriminalize” 183 offences across 42 legislations and enhance the ease of living and doing business in India.
- Some Acts that are amended by the Bill include: the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, and the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Highlights of the Bill:
- Under the Bill, several offences with an imprisonment term in certain Acts have been decriminalised by imposing only a monetary penalty.
- The Bill replaces this with a penalty of eight lakh rupees.
- Under the Information Technology Act, 2000, disclosing personal information in breach of a lawful contract is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years, or a fine of up to five lakh rupees, or both.
- The Bill replaces this with a penalty of up to 25 lakh rupees.
- In certain Acts, offences have been decriminalised by imposing a penalty instead of a fine.
- For instance, under the Patents Act, 1970, a person selling a falsely represented article as patented in India is subject to a fine of up to one lakh rupees.
- The Bill replaces the fine with a penalty, which may be up to ten lakh rupees. In case of a continuing claim, there shall be an additional penalty of one thousand rupees per day.
- The Bill increases the fines and penalties for various offences in the specified Acts.
- Further, these fines and penalties will be increased by 10% of the minimum amount every three years.
- As per the Bill, the central government may appoint one or more adjudicating officers for the purpose of determining penalties.
- The adjudicating officers may: (i) summon individuals for evidence, and (ii) conduct inquiries into violations of the respected Acts.
- The Bill also specifies the appellate mechanisms for any person aggrieved by the order passed by an adjudicating officer.
- For instance, in the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, appeals may be filed with the National Green Tribunal within 60 days from the order.