Public Trust Bill –


To reduce the burden of cases in the courts and to overcome the problems arising due to the increasing number of prisoners in the jails. The Central Government has now decided to amend several laws. With the abolition of about 183 provisions of 42 laws, it will be easier for the businessmen to work. Corruption will also reduce with the decision of the central government to abolish the provision of imprisonment in small crimes and to impose only fine. Keeping all the above in mind, the Public Trust (Amendment of Provisions) Bill-2023 has got the approval of the Union Cabinet. The proposed bill is likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament. Through the bill, it is proposed to remove petty crime from the category of crime by amending 183 provisions of 42 laws related to 10 ministries. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha in December 2022, which was sent to a joint committee of Parliament. The 31-member committee was formed specifically to discuss the issue. The Committee held lengthy discussions with all the Ministries concerned with the Departments of Legislative and Legal Affairs. The committee submitted its report in March this year after taking opinion from the states as well. It was placed in both houses of Parliament in the second phase of the budget session. These laws will be amended: – Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 – Public Debt Act, 1944 – Pharmacy Act, 1948 – Cinematograph Act, 1952 – Copyright Act, 1957 – Patent Act, 1970 – Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 – Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 – Trade Marks Act, 1999 – Railways Act, 1989 – Information Technology Act, 2000 – Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 – Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Proposals for changes in these provisions: – Under the provision of amendment in the IT Act, 2000, disclosure of personal information can lead to imprisonment of up to three years or fine up to five lakhs or both. Now there is a proposal to end the jail sentence and fine up to Rs 25 lakh. Under the Patents Act, 1970, it was an offense to sell goods falsely claiming to be patented in India. Now a provision has been made for a fine of ten lakh rupees. Under the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act, 1937, there is a provision of imprisonment of three years and fine of five thousand for the use of fake grade designation mark. A provision of Rs 8 lakh fine has been made in the bill.

It is worth noting that the amount of monetary penalty will depend on the seriousness of the mistake. The amount of fine fixed for different irregularities will be increased by 10 percent after three years.

Keeping in view the present in the decades old laws and with the desire to provide relief to the general public, amendment in them will be considered as a step in the right direction by the Central Government. Taking inspiration from the above step of the Central Government, the State Governments should also make amendments at their level and give relief to the general public. With this one step, where the burden of cases in the courts will be reduced, it will be easier for the businessmen to work, while the pressure on the jails will also be reduced.

– Irwin Khanna (Chief Editor, Dainik Uttam Hindu)

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