President gives assent to 5 key legislations

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New Delhi, Jan 3: A law enabling setting up of commercial benches in select high courts and another on arbitration for speedy settlement of high value business disputes are among five legislations which have got nod from President Pranab Mukherjee.

Besides, a law for stringent action against those involved in crimes against persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has also got the assent from Mukherjee.

Pranab Mukherjee

Mukherjee gave nod to the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act; the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act; the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act; The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Act; and the Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Act, 2015, on Thursday, official sources said.

The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Act will allow state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to have collaboration with other public sector undertakings in the nuclear field.

The law amends the 1962 Atomic Energy Act to change the definition of "government company" in the Act with a view to expand its scope.

At present, only two PSUs -- NPCIL and Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI), which are under the administrative control of the Department of Atomic Energy, operate nuclear power plants in the country.

The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Act, 2015, provides for enhancing monthly bonus calculation ceiling to Rs 7,000 per month from the existing Rs 3,500.

It also enhances the eligibility limit for payment of bonus from Rs 10,000 per month to Rs 21,000 per month. As per the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015, an arbitrator will have to settle a case within 18 months.

After the completion of 12 months, certain restrictions will be put in place to ensure that the arbitration case does not linger. The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act is aimed at creating commercial benches in select high courts.

Under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, assaulting or sexually exploiting an SC or ST woman is an offence.

The Act states that any intentional touching of an SC or ST woman in a sexual manner without her consent, using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature, dedicating her as a devadasi to a temple, or any similar practice will be considered an offence.

These bills were passed by the Parliament in the recently concluding session.

PTI

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