NATIONAL

President's nod for Companies Amendment Bill

NEW DELHI Jan. 3. With the President giving his assent for the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2002, the stage is set for the establishment of a National Company Law Tribunal with several Benches in States to decide the question of rehabilitation and winding up of sick companies.

Notified in the Gazette as Act No. 1 of 2003, it provides for a new modern, efficient and time-bound insolvency law to provide for both rehabilitation and winding up of sick companies within a maximum of two years as against the existing system which took about 18 to 26 years.

The jurisdiction of the High Courts in matters of liquidation of sick companies would be vested with the proposed Tribunal. The Company Law Board would be wound up. With the repealing of the Sick Industries (Special Provisions) Act, the BIFR created under this Act would be dismantled.

To take care of the interests of workers and investors of sick companies, a corpus fund would be created as per global standards in keeping with the norms of globalisation of the Indian economy under the WTO regime.

Assent for three more Bills

The President has also given his assent to the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Bill, the Transfer of Property (Amendment) Bill and the Indian Evidence (Amendment) Bill and they had been notified as Act Nos. 2, 3 and 4 respectively of the year 2003.

The Cable amendment Act provides for empowering the Government with installation of affordable systems for viewing pay channels of television programmes through notification in a phased manner, free-to-air channels in the areas thus notified, to be continued in the existing received sets without having to go through the addressable systems, without requiring subscribers to change the set irrespective of the channels they wish to receive.

The Act provides for freedom of choice to subscribers to view the channels from among those offered by cable operators and flexibility for adoption of technological advancement and upgradation in the addressable system.

The Transfer of Property Amendment Act provides for a period of notice regarding transfer of property and it will apply even to all pending suits or proceedings and is designed to help the courts to expedite the disposal of such cases.

The Indian Evidence amendment Act makes it clear that in a prosecution for rape or attempt to commit rape, it would not be possible to put questions in cross examination of the prosecutrix as to her general immoral character.

This is a sequel to the recommendations of the Law Commission and the National Commission for Women.

It has been observed during trials that the defence counsel usually refer to prior sexual conduct of the complainant for demolishing her testimony that she did not consent, thus tarnishing her reputation.

This women-friendly amendment is intended to protect the individual honour and dignity of the woman from being tarnished in the courts of law during trial of rape and it comes into immediate effect.

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