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Jan Vishwas Bill, 2022 UPSC NOTE

 


Jan Vishwas Bill, 2022

  • It is aimed at improving “ease of doing business” in India by either decriminalising or making “compoundable” offences across 42 legislations.

  • Covering various domains such as environment, agriculture, media, industry, trade, information technology, copyright, motor vehicles, cinematography, food safety, etc.

  • It decriminalize minor offences that do not involve any harm to the public interest or national security and replace them with civil penalties or administrative actions.

  • The legislation has mostly replaced criminal imprisonment with penalties.

  • It has transferred the power to impose these monetary penalties from the judiciary to the bureaucracy.

  • For example, the Jan Vishwas bill amends the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 to replace imprisonment as a punishment for certain offences with penalties of up to ₹15 lakh that can be imposed by designated bureaucrats (Joint Secretaries). 

  • Under amendments to the Indian Forest Act, 1927 forest officers have the power to not just conduct an inquiry to determine the “damage done to the forest” by anybody but also order the offender to pay a hitherto uncapped “compensation” for said damage.

  • The bill also introduces compounding of offences in some provisions, which means that the offenders can settle their cases by paying a certain amount without going through a court trial.

  • The bill provides for a periodic revision of fines and penalties every three years, with an increase of 10% of the minimum amount for various offences in the specified Acts.

  • The BIll removes all offences and penalties under the Indian Post Office Act, of 1898, which is considered to be obsolete and irrelevant in the present context.

Need of the Bill

  • Rationalize criminal provisions to reduce undue pressure on the justice system.

  • Address technical and procedural defaults without imposing severe penalties.

  • Establish a balanced approach between the severity of offence and prescribed punishment.

  • Boost the growth of businesses by eliminating barriers and promoting a conducive legal environment.

Concerns

  • The Jan Vishwas Bill replaces imprisonment with fines or penalties, which is not enough for decriminalization.

  • The bill uniformly substitutes imprisonment clauses with monetary fines or penalties thus affecting the India’s regulatory framework.

  • Concerns were raised about the appointment of adjudicating officers under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, questioning their technical competence for such legal proceedings.

  • The question is whether government officers would be sufficiently independent as adjudicating authorities in certain cases.

  • The larger question is whether giving the bureaucracy, rather than the courts, the power to not just adjudicate a factual dispute but also penalise or order compensation, goes against the constitutional scheme of separation of powers.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Jan Vishwas Bill, 2022 UPSC NOTE
Jan Vishwas Bill, 2022 UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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