Mandatory Documents Required For Export And Import Reduced To Three Each

Mandatory Documents Required For Export And Import Reduced To Three Each

India took a leap forward in improving `Ease of Doing Business` today by reducing the mandatory documents required for import and export of goods to three documents each. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) issued a Notification to this effect today (Notification Link below).

The Department of Commerce had set up an Inter Ministerial Committee under the Chairmanship of DGFT in July 2014 to study and recommend ways to reduce the number of mandatory documents required for export and import. The Committee held detailed discussions with all stakeholders and the concerned Departments/ Ministries/Agencies and also visited JNPT to study the ground situation and find ways to minimize the number of documents and reduce transaction costs and time for exports and imports. The Committee submitted its "Trading Across Borders" report to Prime Minister`s Office in December 2014.

Based on the recommendations of the report, the RBI has agreed to do away with the `Foreign Exchange Control Form (SDF)` by incorporating the declaration in the `Shipping Bill` (for exports) and dispensing with the `Foreign Exchange Control Form (Form A-1)` (for imports). Customs have also agreed to merge the `Commercial Invoice` with the `Packing List` and have issued a Circular for accepting `Commercial Invoice cum Packing List` that incorporates the required details of both the documents. The exporters and importers, however, have the option of filing separate `Commercial Invoice` and `Packing List` also, if they so desire. Shipping Ministry has also agreed to do away with the requirement of `Terminal Handling Receipt` and make the process online.

As a consequence, after issue of the DGFT`s Notification dated 12-3-2015, only three documents each would be mandatory documents for export and import.

It may be recalled that India ranked 126 in `Trading Across Borders" component of "Ease of Doing Business", out of 189 countries ranked by the World Bank, in its 2015 Report. The ranking methodology adopted by the World Bank for `Trading Across Border` takes into account the number of mandatory documents required for export and import and the time and cost of exporting/importing a container out of/into the country. World Bank`s 2015 Report listed 7 and 10 mandatory documents respectively for export and import from/to India.

As such, after issue of DGFT`s Notification only three documents each would be mandatory for export and import as two documents (Packing List and Commercial Invoice) required by Customs have been merged into one document, whereas one document required by RBI (Foreign Exchange Control Forms - SDF for exports and A-1 for imports) and one document required by Ministry of Shipping (Terminal Handling Receipt) earlier, have now been dispensed with. `Cargo Release Order` is not a mandatory document required by any regulatory agency, but is a commercial document issued by the Shipping line to the concerned importer. As regards, `Technical Standard Certificate`/ `Certified Engineer`s Report`, `Product manual` and `Inspection report`, these documents are required in specific cases/products/tariff lines only and are not mandatory for all products.

The reduction in the number of mandatory documents would also lead to corresponding reduction in Transaction cost and time.  It is expected that this step would not only facilitate the `Ease of Doing Business` in respect of `Trading across Borders` but also improve India`s ranking on this parameter.

To read the Notification on reduction in number of mandatory documents required for export and import,click here.


Formation of Special Purpose Vehicles

Ministry of Railway has proposed draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ministry of Railway, Ministry of Coal and Government of Odisha for taking up railway projects in Odisha. However, no agreement has yet been finalized by Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL). However,. This was stated by Sh. Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.

            The Minister further stated that as per the draft MoU the following 5 projects have been identified in Odisha which are as under:

S.No. Name of Projects
1 Brundamal-Jharsuguda-Fly-over connection for joining down line (6.6 km)
2 Sambalpur-Talcher doubling (174 km)
3 Sambalpur-Titlagarh (182 km) doubling
4 Raipur-Titlagarh (203 km) doubling
5 Champa-Jharsuguda- 3rd line (165km)


Rs. 209740 Crore of Revenue Likely to be Generated from 33 Coal Mines Auctioned

Power Fuel Cost to Reduce by Rs. 96971 Crore

No allocation of coal mines/blocks has been done through e-auction, previously. Coal mines/blocks of Schedule-II and Schedule-III coal mines have been put to auction as per the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Second Ordinance, 2014. This was stated by Sh. Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (I/C) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today. The auction of coal blocks is an ongoing process and so far biddingfor 33 coal mines/blocks has been completed.The total estimated amount of revenue likely to be generated from 33 coal mines already auctioned isRs. 209740 Crore. In addition, power fuel cost will reduce by approximately Rs.96971 Crore resulting in power tariff savings for consumers, the Minister added.

In 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz Bands Continues
49 Rounds of Bidding Completed at the end of Day 8

            The Auction of Spectrum in 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz Bands re- commenced today at 09.00 A.M. and today 6 rounds of bidding were completed. Till now, 49 rounds of bidding has taken place.

            The bidding is taking place in all bands. Brisk bidding was seen on 8th day of bidding, with activity requirement set at 100%. There is aggressive bidding going on in all bands i.e. 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz bands. At the end of 49th round, over 86% of the spectrum has been provisionally allocated to bidders at a value of approximately Rs. 1,02,000 crores. Majority of service areas are going at a premium over reserve price. The competitive bidding is expected to continue. There is still spectrum, which is yet to be sold. Bidding would recommence tomorrow i.e. 13-03-2015 at 9AM.

            Detailed file is attached.

Click here to see Report:


Highlights of Telecom Subscription Data as on 31st January, 2015 


Veer Senani Rally at New Police Lines Jhajjar, Haryana 

A Veer Senani Rally will be conducted at New Police Lines, Jhajjar on 14 Mar 2015. This region is the home for a sizeable population of 46,000 veterans and approximately 300 ‘Veer Naris’ and widows of martyrs. 

The Rally will cover Veterans belonging to nine districts of Haryana including Rohtak, Jhajjar, Jind, Bhiwani, Hisar, Rewari, Fatehabad, Sirsa and Mahendergarh. The event is likely to be attended by approximately 30, 000 Veterans, ‘Veer Naris’, Widows and dependents. 

The Veer Senani Rally will commence from 8:00 A.M on 14 Mar 2015 at Jhajjar wherein a number of ‘Grievance Resolution Stalls’ will be established to process on the spot resolution of grievances. The motto for the Rally is “SAMMAN, SEHAT, SAHULIYAT AUR SAHAYATA” . The focus will be on resolving Pension-related matters, Medical Care, preparations of Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) Cards and CSD Cards as well as for carrying out post-retirement documentation. In addition, a Medical Camp is also being organised with nine specialists who will attend the needy patients. Approximately 3000 ‘Veer Naris’, War Widows and wards of Ex- Servicemen will be felicitated during the event. Financial grants to widows and wards of Ex-Servicemen will also be distributed. This event is being planned to convey the gratitude to all Veer Naris’, War Widows, Senior Veterans and Ex-Servicemen for their solemn and selfless service to the Nation, society and the Armed Forces. 



From National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune 

Certain media inquiries have been received by National Institute of Virology, Pune, seeking information on possible mutations of Influenza A H1N1 virus circulating in India. 

A publication in Cell Host & Microbe, 17, March 11, 2015 Elsevier Inc. [Page 279-282], entitled “Influenza surveillance: 2014-2015 H1N1 “Swine”-Derived Influenza Viruses from India” has been cited. Our experts have carefully examined the findings mentioned in the above-mentioned publication. We found that the strain analyzed in the said publication and the sequence data of the original H1N1 virus A/India/6427/2014 as available with NIV did not show any of these mutations. Subsequent report on antigenic/genetic analysis of this H1N1 virus by CDC/WHO as communicated to NIV also did not report any oseltamivir resistance or any other genetic changes in HA genes that could be virulent markers. The virus was similar to A/North Carolina/04-2014. The genetic analysis of the HA gene of the H1N1 isolates from the present 2015 outbreak do not show any such mutations as mentioned in the above publication. 

Moreover, the strain mentioned in the report of 2014 has no relevance to the current outbreak of 2015. Recently NIV has analyzed six full genomes, which also suggests absence of such mutations. 

This press release has been issued so that public has the correct information and does not get confused with the incorrect conclusion published in the above said publication. 


Text of the Statement of Union Home Minister in the Parliament 

Following is the text of the statement made today by the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh in both the Houses of Parliament: 

“I had made a Statement based on the report received from the Government of Jammu & Kashmir on 9th March, 2015 regarding the release of separatist Masarat Alam Bhat I had also mentioned that more information in this regard is being collected from the State Government. We have received a further report from the State Government in the matter. 

The State Government has informed that 27 criminal cases are continuing against Masarat Alan Bhat. Masarat Alam Bhat has been booked 8 times, since February, 2010 under Section 8 of the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act of 1978. The last such detention order was issued by the District Magistrate, Jammu on 15.09.2014. Such detention order issued by the District Magistrate, Jammu is to be approved by the State Government within 12 days of the issuance of such detention order as per Section 8(4) of the Public Safety Act.. The detention order issued by the District Magistrate, Jammu on 15.09.2014 was received in the Home Department of Jammu & Kashmir on 09.10.2014 after the lapse of 23 days and hence the same could not be approved. 

The State Government has further informed that there were no fresh grounds for detention as verified from the District Magistrate, Jammu. The grounds based on which earlier detention orders were, quashed by the Hon’ble High Court and this detention order contained the same old grounds of detention. 

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India had also, in March 2013, observed that if any fresh detention order is issued by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir with respect to Masarat Alan Bhat, the same shall not come into force for a period of one week from the date of communication of the order to enable him to pursue appropriate legal remedy. 

After some correspondence with the District Magistrate, Jamrnu and State Law Department, the State Government wrote to the District Magistrate, Jammu on 04.02.2015 vide their letter No. Home/PD/01/2014 dated 4.2.2015 informing that the detention order dated 15.09.2014 issued by him ceased to remain in force The District Magistrate, Jammu was further informed that a fresh order can, however, be issued for detention of the detainee after following the procedure prescribed in the Public Safety Act and directions of the Hon’bie Supreme Court. 

Thereafter, the detenue was released on 07.03.2015. 

The State Government has also informed that a proper system is in place to have an effective surveillance over Masarat Alam l3hat’s activities. As and when anything adverse surfaces, appropriate action as envisaged by law will be taken. The intelligence apparatus and local police work in tandem thereby facilitating planning of advance and adequate deployment of law and order components for maintenance of peace and order in areas likely to be visited by Masarat Alam Bhat and other separatist elements. 

The Home Ministry has issued an advisory to the Government of Jammu & Kashmir on the following lines: 

(i) All 27 criminal cases registered against Masarat Alam Bhat will be pursued vigorously and steps also taken as per law to challenge the orders pertaining to grant of bail to him in such cases. 

(ii) A close surveillance must be ensured on such of the activities of Masarat Alam Bhat and his Other associates and followers, which are detrimental to public order or the unity and integrity of the country in general and the State of Jammu & Kashmir in particular. Anything coming to adverse notice must be promptly reviewed in the light of the Public Safety Act and appropriate action taken immediately. 

(iii) The State Government will ensure that the surveillance and monitoring of the activities of Masarat Alam Bhat and his associates and followers as mentioned above, is done in close tandem with the Central Government security and intelligence agencies in the larger interest of maintaining peace and public order and normalcy in the State.” 


Government committed to promote films from North East: Shri Bimal Julka 

Dr. Prakash Baba Amte: the Real Hero - the opening film at Indian Panorama Film Festival at Shillong 

The third edition of the Indian Panorama Film Festival was inaugurated today at U Soso Tham auditorium in Meghalaya Capital Shillong with the screening of the award winning Marathi film “Dr. Prakash Baba Amte: the Real Hero” directed by Ms. Samruddhi Porey. A host of film personalities including prominent film Director Anjan Dutt were present at the inaugural ceremony which was graced by Chief Minister of Meghalaya Dr. Mukul Sangma, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Shri Bimal Julka, and Information and Public Relations Minister of Meghalaya, Shri A. L. Hek. 

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Bimal Julka, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, said that the Ministry has been focusing on showcasing films from the North East to encourage production of films in the region. Shri Julka said a North East Film Festival was held in New Delhi recently which attracted a large audience. Emphasizing on the popularity of North Eastern films, Shri Julka said that there has been a separate section on North Eastern films in the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Goa. It gave a unique opportunity to showcase these films to film enthusiasts and film makers from India and abroad. He also said that the forthcoming International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will have a special section on the North East to expose the feature and non-feature films made in Meghalaya. 

Appreciating film production by young film makers from the North East, Shri Julka said that numerous short non feature films from the North East, have received National Awards. In order to further encourage this talent, the Films Division of the Ministry of I&B has implemented a special component under a Plan Scheme for production of short films from the North East. Speaking further on the development of films during the last five years, he said the Films Division has commissioned 54 films from the North East. 

Shri Julka also said that in the period 2014-2015, a week-long film making workshop was also organized in Aizawl in Mizoram and another workshop is currently being conducted in Silchar in Assam. In this endeavour, the Films Division plans to conduct four such film making workshops every year in the North East, to familiarize film makers from these states with the latest technology in film making. 


PIB holds First Regional Media Conference on Improving Information Dissemination in Rural Areas at Jobner 

Press Information Bureau, under the aegis of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting organized the first Regional Media Conference on strengthening information dissemination on Government policies and programmes in rural areas at Jobner, near Jaipur today. About 70 regional journalists including stringers of newspapers and news channels participated in the one day Conference. In his message to the participants at the Conference, Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore said that media by providing information about welfare schemes can transform the lives of the people living in rural areas. He said that emergence of internet and social media has brought about information revolution in the country. He underlined that there is need to build capacities of rural journalists for establishing better reach to the people in rural areas. 

One of the major objectives of the conference was receiving feedback from the journalists working in rural areas on their information needs. During the interactive sessions, the participants while appreciating the initiative suggested more such interactions in future and mechanism for enhanced information flow from PIB on central Government schemes to rural journalists. In his keynote address, Senior Journalist, Shri Yashwant Vyas said that rural journalists have major role in highlighting issues of local importance on which they should report fearlessly. Senior Journalists Shri Rajendra Boda, Shri Pratap Rao, Shri Ashok Chaturvedi and Shri Shakti Singh addressed the journalists on issues including role of different media in effective information flow in rural areas. A session on role of media in disaster management was conducted by Shri Bijendra Singh, OSD, State Disaster Management Department of Rajasthan. 

The participants were also given orientation on the role of new/social media in information dissemination. 


Third edition of Indian Panorama Film Festival inaugurated in Shillong 

The third edition of the Indian Panorama Film Festival being organized by the Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in collaboration with the State Govt. of Meghalaya was inaugurated in Shillong today. The festival was inaugurated by Hon`ble Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Shri Mukul Sangma in the presence of Shri Bimal Julka, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India. Hon`ble Minister IPR, Meghalaya, Shri A. L. Hek, Ms Samruoddhi Porey, Director, Shri Anjan Dutt, Actor/Director, Shri Pradip Kurbah, Director, Shri P. Sheshadri, Director and Shri Hemanta Kumar Das, Director were also present on the occasion. 

The Three Day Festival would witness the screening of Eight feature films and three non-feature films at the U Soso Tham Auditorium in Shillong.The festival opened with the Marathi feature film ‘Dr. Prakash Baba Amte – The Real Hero’ directed by Ms. Samruoddhi Porey. 

The other feature films which would be screened during the festival are Drishyam (Malayalam), December 1 (Kannada), Kuttram Kadithal (Tamil), Ankhon Dekhi (Hindi), Othello (Assemese), Ri (Khasi), Teenkahon (Bengali), Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbona (Bengali). Non-feature films which would be screened during the festival are Songs of the Blue Hills (Nagamese/English), A Dream Never Dies (Assamese) and Ek Hota Kau (Marathi). 


News Services Division’s Free AIR News SMS service reaches over six lakh people 

Registration for the free AIR News on SMS service of the News Services Division (NSD) of All India Radio (AIR) has crossed six lakh. The SMS service in English was launched on 9th September, 2013 and the database reached to about 3 lakhs by August, 2014. NSD started sending news headlines through SMS in nine more languages in September and October, 2014 and testing for six more languages is almost complete.

In September 2014, the free News SMS service was extended to Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, Dogri and Nepali. Within a short span of a month, nearly one lakh people registered for the Service. Four more regional languages namely Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, and Assamese were added to the SMS service in October, 2014.

 In this service, NSD has been providing national/international news headlines through SMS in 16 languages namely Gujarati, Assamese, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Marathi, Dogri, Sanskrit, Nepali, English, Bengali, Odia, Urdu, Punjabi, Arunachali and Kashmiri. As a next step, NSD is planning to expand the service to its Regional News Units (RNUs) for giving local news in regional languages on SMS.

One can register for the service either by sending an SMS in the format AIR <space><language code> to 7738299899 or by filling up online form at

The language codes are GJ-Gujarati, AS-Assamese, TM-Tamil, ML-Malayalam, HI-Hindi, MH-Marathi, DO-Dogri, SK-Sanskrit, NP-Nepali and EN-English. Codes for six upcoming languages for this service are: BN-Bengali, OD-Odia, UR-Urdu, PN-Punjabi, AL-Arunachali, KS-Kashmiri.


Sh.Bandaru Dattatreya Gives Away NSCI Safety Awards-2014 

Golden Jubilee Celebrations of National Safety Council Launched 
Seventy Five Organizations Won Year -2014 Awards in Four Categories 

Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment has urged the industry to work in close cooperation with workers and the Government creating work culture that addresses occupational health and safety issues of workers. The Minister said this while presenting NSCI Safety Awards-2014 here today. Speaking on the occasion the Minister said relations between management and workers are more important than machines and cordial relations do help reduce the unpleasant occurrences. 

Shri Bandaru Dattatreya also unveiled a specially designed logo to mark the launching of Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the National Safety Council. To mark 50th year of its journey, a commemorative Book was also released by the Minister along with the logo. Shri PP Mitra, the Principal Labour and Employment Advisor, Ministry of Labour and Employment was also present. 

Numaligarh Refinery Ltd., Golaghat, Assam and Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd., Lawkim Motors Group, Satara, Maharashtra under Group A and Group B respectively in Manufacturing Sector; M/s. Larsen and Toubro Ltd., Heavy Civil Infrastructure IC for the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project 3a nd 4 of NPCIL at Tapi, Gujarat in Construction Sector and M/s. Elin Appliances Pvt. Ltd., Solan, Himachal Pradesh in MSME Sector have won the top level Sarva Shreshtha Suraksha Puraskar for 2014. 

Altogether 66 organisations won the Awards for the Award Year-2014 in four award categories – Sarva Shreshtha Suraksha Puraskar, Shreshtha Suraksha Puraskar, Suraksha Puraskar and Prashansa Patra. Besides, 9 client organizations from Construction Sector were also awarded. 

The NSCI Safety Awards are much coveted national level Awards in the field of Workplace Safety, Health and Environment and are given in recognition of establishing effective Safety Management System and excellent safety and health performance by the organizations in Manufacturing, Construction and MSME Sectors during the relevant assessment periods. These Awards are adjudged and declared every year by the National Safety Council. The National Safety Council, non-commercial, non-profit making autonomous society, was set up by the Ministry of Labour, Govt. of India on 4th March, 1966 to generate, develop and sustain a voluntary movement on Safety, Health and Environment in the Country. 

* * * *

Sh.Bandaru Dattatreya Launches of EPFO Short Code SMS Services Option to Get Service in Ten Different Indian Languages 

Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Independent Charge) has launched EPFO’s Short Code SMS services for the members of EPFO during the 206th meeting of CBT(EPF) held on 11.03.2015. 

This facility is envisaged to ease the members in knowing their details along with contribution and PF Balance. As this facility is available only to the UAN activated members, such facility will speed up the UAN activation process by the members. 

During the year 2014, EPFO had launched the UAN programme wherein a Universal Account Number was allotted to all the members and different services such as passbook, monthly SMS of contributions were provided on its activation at EPFO’s UAN portal. The Short Code SMS service will be available to UAN activated members. 

In this facility the member will send an SMS in predefined format from his/her mobile number registered during UAN activation. The EPFO on receipt of such SMS will send the members details available with EPFO along with details of KYC seeded, Last Contribution and Total PF Balance. 

The Members has been given an option to know the details in 10 different Indian languages namely English, Hindi, Telugu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and Bengali. 

* * * *

Law Commission of India Submits its Report on Electoral Reforms to the Ministry of Law & Justice 

Wide Ranging Reforms Proposed 

The law Commission of India today submitted its Report No. 255 on “Electoral Reforms” to the Union Law and Justice Ministry. Informing this to the Media persons here in New Delhi Justice Shri A. P. Shah, Chairman Law Commission of India said the  201 page report has come after due consideration and deliberations with the stake holders including of register national and state political party and extensive and in-depth analysis of various issues by the commission. He said this report is sequel of the request of Ministry of Law and Justice made in January 2013 to the Twentieth Law Commission of India to consider the issue of ‘Electoral Reforms’ in its entirety and suggest comprehensive measures for changes in the law. While working on the subject, the Supreme Court of India, in the matter of ‘Public Interest Foundation & Others V. Union of India & Anr- Writ Petition (Civil) No. 536 of 2011, directed the Law Commission of India to make its suggestions on two specific issues, viz., (i) ‘curbing criminalization of politics and needed law reforms’; and (ii) ‘impact and consequences of candidates filing false affidavits and needed law reforms to check such practice’. In the light of this judgment, the Commission worked specifically on these two areas and, after series of discussions, followed by a National Consultation held on 1st February 2014, submitted its 244th Report titled ‘Electoral Disqualification’  on 24th February 2014 to the Government of India.

Justice Shah further said that after the submission of Report No. 244, the commission circulated another questionnaire to all registered national and state political parties seeking their views on ten points, the response received was not very encouraging, though. However, the Commission undertook an extensive study to suggest electoral reforms, held various rounds of discussions with the stakeholders and analysed in-depth the issues involved. After detailed deliberations, the Commission has come up with its recommendations which are put in the form its final Repot, Repot No.255, titled ‘Electoral Reforms’, which been submitted for  for consideration by the Government.

Following is the summery of the report on various issues discussed in the report. The amendments to the Constitution, RPA, Election Rules and any other laws have been made in track changes in the Annexure appended to this Report. The detailed report is available on the website of the commission:

1.Election Finance

The Law Commission has proposed wide ranging reforms on the issue of candidate expenditure limits; disclosure obligations of individual candidates and political parties; and penalties imposable on political parties; as well as examining the issue of state funding of elections.

a.       Section 77 of the RPA, regulating the election expenses incurred or authorized by candidates or their election agents, currently extends from the date of nomination to the date of declaration of results. This period should be extended by amending section 77(1) to apply from the date of notification of the elections to the date of declaration of results. [Para 2.31(a)1]

b.      Section 182(1) of the Companies Act, 2013 should be amended to require the passing of the resolution authorising the contribution from the company’s funds to a political party at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) instead of its Board of Directors.
[Para 2.31(a)2]

c.       The existing disclosure obligations of individual candidates are limited to maintaining an account of electoral expenses under sections 77 and 78, RPA. This is sought to be amended by inserting a new section 77A to require candidates or their election agents to maintain an account and disclose the particulars (names, addresses and PAN card numbers of donors and amounts contributed) of

i.            any individual contribution received by them from any person or company, not being a Government company and
ii.            any contribution by the political party from the date of notification of elections, which have to be made by the party by a crossed account payee cheque or draft or bank transfer.
[Para 2.31(b)3]

d.      Section 78 should be amended in light of the proposed amendment to section 77A above, and the reference to more than one returned candidate should be removed.
[Para 2.31(b)4]

e.       A new section 78A should be inserted requiring the district election officer to make publicly available, on his website or on file for public inspection on payment of prescribed fee, the expenditure reports submitted by every contesting candidate under section 78.
[Para 2.31(b)5]

f.       Political parties should be required to maintain and submit annual accounts, duly audited by a qualified and practicing chartered accountant from a panel of such accountants maintained for the purpose by the Comptroller and Auditor General, to the ECI every financial year. These accounts will fully and clearly disclose all the amounts received by the party and the expenditure incurred by it. The ECI will then upload these accounts online or keep them on file for public inspection on payment of fee.
[Para 2.31(b)6]

g.       Disclosure provisions governing political parties has been substantially recast, with the existing 29C being deleted and replaced by a new section 29D requiring all parties to:

i.                        mandatorily disclose all contributions in excess of Rs. 20,000;
ii.                        include aggregate contributions from a single donor amounting to Rs. 20,000 within its scope;
iii.                        disclose the names, addresses and PAN card numbers (if applicable) of these donors along with the amount of each donation above Rs. 20,000;
iv.                        disclose such particulars even for contributions less than Rs. 20,000 if such contributions exceed Rs. 20 crore or 20 % of the party’s total contributions, whichever is less. Consequential amendments will need to be made to the Election Rules and the IT Act.
[Para 2.31(b)7]

h.      A new section 29E to be inserted in the RPA requiring the ECI to make publicly available, on its website or on file for public inspection on payment of prescribed fee, all the contribution reports submitted by all political parties under section 29D.
[Para 2.31(b)8]

i.        ECI’s transparency guidelines prescribing, first, a “statement of election expenditure” to be filed with it, by every party contesting an election within 75 days of the Assembly elections and 90 days of the General elections election; and second, expenses incurred by political parties to be usually in the form of cheque or draft, unless banking facilities are not easily available or the payment is made to a party functionary in lieu of salary or reimbursement, should be given a statutory basis vide a newly inserted section 29F.
[Para 2.31(b)9]

j.        The disqualification of a candidate for a failure to lodge an account of election expenses and contributions reports under section 77 and proposed 77A should be extended from the current three period up to a five year period, so that a defaulting candidate may be ineligible to contest at least the next elections.
[Para 2.31(c)10]

k.      Express penalties, apart from losing tax benefits, should be imposed on political parties vide section 29G for the non-compliance with the disclosure provisions of proposed section 29D of the RPA. This should include a daily fine of Rs. 25,000 for each day of non-compliance, with the possibility of de-registration if the default continues beyond 90 days. Further, ECI may levy a fine of up to Rs. 50 lakhs if its finds any particulars in the party’s statements as having been falsified.
[Para 2.31(c)11]

l.        A new section 29H should be inserting penalising parties that contravene the stipulations of section 29B, RPA and section 182 of the Companies Act in terms of accepting contributions from impermissible donors, by levying a penalty of five times the amount so accepted.
[Para 2.31(c)12]

m.    A new Part IVB, section 29I should be inserted to the RPA dealing with the “Regulation of Electoral Trusts”, and detailing provisions pertaining to their entitlement to accept contributions, disclosure obligations, and penal provisions (apart from losing income tax exemptions) so that the RPA can be amended in line with the changes already made to the IT Act and the ECI guidelines on “Electoral Trust Companies” of 2013.
[Para 2.31(c)13]

n.      The Commission does not consider a system of complete state funding of elections or matching grants to be feasible, given the current conditions of the country. Instead, it supports the existing system of indirect in-kind subsidies, with section 78B of the RPA being possibly amended in the future to expand these subsidies.
[Para 2.31(d)1-4]

2.Regulation of Political Parties and Inner Party Democracy

a.       The Commission recommends amending sub-section (5) of section 29A of the RPA requiring that the accompanying memorandum/rules/ regulations with the party’s application under sub-section (1). This accompanying document, by whatever name it is called, should also contain a specific provision stating that the party would shun violence for political gains, and would avoid discrimination or distinction based on race, caste, creed, language or place of residence.
[Para 3.17.4, 1]
b.      A new Chapter IVC should be inserted dealing with the “Regulation of Political Parties” and incorporating the Commission’s previous recommendations in its 170th Report with certain modifications. Thus, sections 29J to 29Q will deal with internal democracy, party Constitutions, party organisation, internal elections, candidate selection, voting procedures, and the ECI’s power to de-register a party in certain cases of non-compliance.

c.       Another section, section 29R should be inserted in the same Part, providing for the de-registration of a political party for failure to contest Parliamentary or State elections for ten consecutive years.
[Para 3.17.4, 2]

3.Proportional Representation

It is clear that both the electoral systems come with their own merits and demerits – proportional representation theoretically being more representative, while the FPTP system being more stable It is also clear, from the experience of other countries that any changes in India’s electoral system will have to follow a hybrid pattern combining elements of both direct and indirect elections. This, in turn will necessitate an increase in the number of seats in the Lok Sabha, which raises concerns regarding its effective functioning.

[Para 4.19.1]

As a result, the Law Commission recommends that the findings of the 170th Law Commission Report on the proportional system may be examined by the Government to determine whether its proposals can be made workable in India at present.

[Para 4.19.2]

4.Anti Defection Law in India

            The Law Commission recommends a suitable amendment to the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, which shall have the effect of vesting the power to decide on questions of disqualification on the ground of defection with the President or the Governor, as the case may be, (instead of the Speaker or the Chairman), who shall act on the advice of the ECI. This would help preserve the integrity of the Speaker’s office.

[Para 5.22]

5.Strengthening the office of the Election Commission of India

The ECI should be strengthened by first, giving equal constitutional protection to all members of the Commission in matters of removability; second, making the appointment process of the Election Commissioners and the CEC consultative; and third, creating a permanent, independent Secretariat for the ECI.

a.       Article 324(5) of the Constitution should be amended to equate the removal procedures of the two Election Commissioners with that of the Chief Election Commissioner. Thus, equal constitutional protection should be given to all members of the ECI in matters of removability from office.
[Para 6.9]
b.      The appointment of all the Election Commissioners, including the CEC, should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium or selection committee, consisting of the Prime Minister; the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha (or the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha in terms of numerical strength); and the Chief Justice of India. Elevation of an Election Commissioner should be on the basis of seniority, unless the three member collegium/committee, for reasons to be recorded in writing, finds such Commissioner unfit. Amendments should be made in the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991 to reflect this.
[Para 6.12.5]

c.       A new sub-clause (2A) should be added to Article 324 of the Constitution to provide for a separate independent and permanent Secretariat for the ECI along the lines of the Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha Secretariats under Article 98 of the Constitution. This will further improve the independence of the ECI.
[Para 6.19 & 6.20]
6.Paid News and Political Advertisements

            The issue of paid news and political advertisements should be regulated in the RPA in the following manner:

a.       The definitions of “paying for news”, “receiving payment for news” and “political advertisement” should be inserted in section 2 of the RPA.
[Para 7.48.4 & 7.48.5]

b.      The consequences attached to those indulging in such practices should be delineated by creating

i.                  an electoral offence of “paying for news” / “receiving payment for news” in a newly inserted section 127B of the RPA - Not only will the incorporation of this electoral offence make paying for news / receiving payment for news penal, the stringent punishment will ensure that if the candidate themselves are found guilty, then, in all likelihood, they will be disqualified pursuant to section 8(3) of the RPA;
[Para 7.49.1]
ii.                  a corrupt practice of paying for news under newly inserted sub-clause (iii) in section 123(2)(a) of the RPA.
[Para 7.50]
c.       In order to curb the practice of disguised political advertisement, disclosure provisions should be made mandatory for all forms of media. The purpose of disclosure is two fold; first, to help the public identify the nature of the content (paid content or editorial content); and second, to keep the track of transactions between the candidates and the media. Thus, a new section 127C should be inserted in the RPA to deal with the non-disclosure of interests in political advertising. The ECI can regulate the specifics of the disclosure required.
[Para 7.51.2]

7.Opinion Polls

Section 126(1)(b) of the RPA, which prohibits the display of any election matter forty-eight hours before polling begins, is limited to display by means of “cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus”; and does not deal with the independence and robustness of the opinion polls themselves. Thus:

a.       The ban on opinion polls in the electronic media does not extend to the print media and section 126(1)(b) should be amended to prevent the publication, publicity, or dissemination of any election matter by print or electronic media.
[Para 8.27.1]
b.      Section 126(1)(b) should also provide for cognizance being taken only on the basis of a complaint made by order of, or under authority from, the ECI or the Chief Electoral Officer of the State.
[Para 8.27.2]
c.       The regulation of opinion polls is necessary to ensure that first, the credentials of the organisations conducting the poll is made known to the public; second, the public has a chance to assess the validity of the methods used in conducting the opinion polls; and third, the public is made adequately aware that opinion polls are in the nature of forecasts or predictions, and as such are liable to error. Consequently, new sections 126C and 126D should be inserted in the RPA.
[Para 8.28.3]

Compulsory Voting

The Law Commission does not recommend the introduction of compulsory voting in India and in fact, believes it to be highly undesirable for a variety of reasons described above such as being undemocratic, illegitimate, expensive, unable to improve quality political participation and awareness, and difficult to implement.

[Para 9.24]

8. Election Petitions

Wide-ranging reforms have been suggested to Part VI of the RPA dealing with “disputes regarding elections” and the proposed amendments have been drafted in the annexure appended to this Report. These include, inter alia:

a.         The introduction of one or more “election benches” in each High Court, designated so by the Chief Justice of the particular High Court, exercising jurisdiction over all election disputes under the RPA. A single Judge shall ordinarily exercise such jurisdiction, although the Chief Justice can assign more judges, if they so desire.

b.        The procedure for presenting election petitions should be made simpler and less formalistic by:

      i.            requiring election petitions to be ordinarily filed in the Principal seat of the relevant High Court, although this can be shifted to another bench or place in the interest of justice;
    ii.            removing requirement of impleading those candidates who have lost their security deposit as respondents to an election petition, if the petitioner makes an additional declaration that he himself or any candidate has been duly elected; and
  iii.            removing non-compliance with section 117’s stipulation of security for costs as a ground for summarily dismissal under section 86.

c.                    The trial of election petitions by the election bench of the High Court should be expedited by providing for
      i.                daily trial;
    ii.               minimising adjournments, with the possibility of imposing exemplary costs;
  iii.               a time limit of 45 days to file a written statement, with a further extension of 15 days, after which such right shall be forfeited;

d.      The trial should be concluded within six months from the date of presentation of the petition; otherwise, a report should be sent to the Chief Justice of the High Court explaining the reasons for the delay.

e.       The election bench of the High Court should pass its order under section 98 within ninety days from the conclusion of arguments.

f.       A new provision, section 98A, should be inserted pertaining to the collection of data (such as the number of election petitions filed and pending, the status of each petition, the names of the parties, and designated election bench) by the High Court and uploading it on its website. The ECI has been mandated to prepare an annual report after compiling such data from all the High Courts across the country.

g.       Appeals to the Supreme Court should now only be on the basis of a question of law, instead of the earlier provision permitting questions of fact or law as grounds for appeal. This appeal should be filed within 30 days of the High Court’s order, although an extension of a maximum of 30 more days can be granted, with nothing thereafter. The Supreme Court should try and conclude the appeal within three months from the date of appeal.

h.      The security for costs has been increased from the existing Rs. 2000 to Rs. 10,000, although section 117 has been amended to empower the election bench of the High Court to grant an extension of time, as considered reasonable, to deposit this new security amount.
[Para 10.37]

9.NOTA and the Right to Reject

The Law Commission currently rejects the extension of the NOTA principle to introduce a right to reject the candidate and invalidate the election in cases where a majority of the votes have been polled in favour of the NOTA option. This is premised on the fact that, first, the underlying premise of the Supreme Court’s decision in NOTA was the importance of safeguarding the right to secrecy, and this secrecy rationale does not pre-empt the right to reject. Second, good governance, the motivating factor behind the right to reject, can be successfully achieved by bringing about changes in political horizontal accountability, inner party democracy, and decriminalisation. However, the issue might be reconsidered again in the future.

[Para 11.15]

10. The Right to Recall

            The Law Commission is not in favour of introducing the right to recall in any form because it can lead to an excess of democracy, undermines the independence of the elected candidates, ignores minority interests, increases instability and chaos, increases chances of misuse and abuse, is difficult and expensive to implement in practice, especially given that India follows the first past the post system.

[Para 12.20]

11. Totaliser for Counting of Votes

The Commission reiterates and endorses the ECI’s suggestion for introducing a totaliser for the counting of votes recorded in electronic voting machines to prevent the harassment of voters in areas where voting trends in each polling station can be determined. Prior to the introduction of EVMs, ballot papers could be mixed under Rule 59A of the Election Rules, although this was not permitted for EVMs. Using a totaliser would increase the secrecy of votes during counting, thus preventing the disclosure of voting patterns and countering fears of intimidation and victimisation.

Thus, similar to the existing Rule 59A, the Commission proposes to amend Rule 66A to empower the ECI to decide when, and in which constituency and polling booths, to employ a totaliser, after taking into consideration various factors and the overall context of the elections.

[Para 13.7]

12.Restriction on Government Sponsored Advertisements

The Commission recommends regulating and restricting government sponsored advertisements six months prior to the date of expiry of the House/Assembly to maintain the purity of elections; prevent the use of public money for partisan interests of, inter alia, highlighting the government’s achievements; and ensure that the ruling party or candidate does not get an undue advantage over another in the spirit of free and fair elections.

This can be achieved by inserting a new Chapter VIIB in Part V of the RPA prohibiting State/Central government sponsored advertisements in the print or electronic media or by way of banners and hoarders, six months prior to date of expiry of the term of the Lok Sabha/Vidhan Sabha. However, an exception has been carved out for advertisements highlighting the government’s poverty alleviation programmes or any health related schemes

[Para 14.6]

13.Restriction on the Number of Seats from which a Candidate May Contest

The  Nomination of Candidates

 from only one constituency.hcih e determinede has been used,--High Courts across the country.rome Con Commission recommends an amendment of section 33(7) of the RPA, which permits a candidate to contest any election (parliamentary, assembly, biennial council, or bye-elections) from up to two constituencies. In view of the expenditure of time and effort; election fatigue; and the harassment caused to the voters, section 33(7) should be amended to permit candidates to stand from only one constituency.

[Para 15.4]

14.Independent Candidates

            The Law Commission recommends that independent candidates be disbarred from contesting elections because the current regime allows a proliferation of independents, who are mostly dummy/non-serious candidates or those who stand (with the same name) only to increase the voters’ confusion. Thus, sections 4 and 5 of the RPA should be amended to provide for only political parties registered with the ECI under section 11(4) to contest Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections.

[Para 16.16&16.17]

15. Preparation and Use of Common Electoral Rolls

            The Law Commission endorses the ECI’s suggestions regarding the introduction of common electoral rolls for Parliamentary, Assembly and local body elections. However, given that introducing common electoral rolls will require an amendment in the State laws pertaining to the conduct of local body elections, the Central Government should write to the various States in this regard. We hope that the States will consider amending their laws based on the suggestions of the ECI and the Law Commission.

[Para 17.6]


High Court Bench

In accordance with the recommendations made by the Jaswant Singh Commission and judgment pronounced by the Apex Court in W.P.(C) No. 379 of 2000, Bench(es) of the High Court are established after due consideration of a complete proposal from the State Government, which is to provide infrastructure and meet the expenditure, along with the consent of the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court, which is required to look after the day to day administration of the High Court and its Bench. The proposal should also have the consent of the Governor of the concerned State Government. 

A Statement showing the details of High Courts, their jurisdiction and Benches in the States is at Annexure. 

Requests for establishment of High Court Benches in different parts of the country have been received from various sources including some State Governments. However, at present there is no proposal complete in all aspects pending for consideration by the Central Government. 

This information was given by Union Minister of Law and Justice Shri D.V Sadananda Gowda in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 


Lok Adalats 

The requisite information regarding the Lok Adalats is being collected from all State Legal Services Authorities and will be laid on the Table of the House. 

The Lok Adalats are organized by State Legal Services Authorities / Supreme Court Legal Services Committee/ High Court Legal Services Committees/ District Legal Services Authorities and Taluk Legal Services Committees, regularly all over the country either on a daily, fortnightly or monthly basis in addition to the National and Mega Lok Adalats. The objectives for organising more and more Lok Adalats, National and Mega Lok Adalats are to dispose off cases speedily so that the burden of regular courts is reduced. 

Apart from the guidelines under the Legal Services Authorities, the National Legal Services Authority has resolved to hold National Lok Adalat during the year 2015 on various subject matters, such as Bank matters (Section-138, NI Act, Recovery suits etc.)/ Revenue/MGNREGA/Land Acquisition cases/Labour & Family matters/ MACT and insurance Claims/Electricity/Water/ Telephone/ Public Utility disputes/ Criminal Compoundable matters/Traffic/Petty matters/Municipal matters. In addition to this, a National Lok Adalat which will take up all matters has been proposed to be held during the period November/December, 2015. The details of expenditure incurred/likely to be incurred in organising these Lok Adalats is being collected from all State Legal Services Authorities and will be laid on the Table of the House. 

This information was given by Union Minister of Law and Justice Shri D.V Sadananda Gowda in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 


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