3rd January, 2003
Ministry of Law & Justice  


The President has given his assent to the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2002, the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Bill, 2002, the Transfer of Property (Amendment) Bill, 2002 and the Indian Evidence (Amendment) Bill, 2002. With this, these four Bills, passed during the Winter Session of Parliament ending December 20, 2002, have been notified in the Gazette of India as Act Nos. 1,2,3 and 4 respectively of the year 2003.

The Companies (Amendment) Act, 2003, which seeks to amend the Companies Act, 1956, provides for a new, modern, efficient and time bound Insolvency Law to provide for both rehabilitation and winding up of sick companies within a timeframe of a maximum of two years as against the existing system taking about 18 to 26 years. It envisages setting up of a National Company Law Tribunal with several Benches to be notified by the Government all over the country, appeal from its judgement before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, taking over the jurisdiction of High Courts in the matters of liquidation of sick companies, abrogation of Company Law Board, repealing of the Sick Industries (Special Provisions) Act, 1985 and dismantling of BIFR created thereunder, creation of a corpus to be known as Rehabilitation Fund for taking care of the workers of sick companies and their investors as per the global standards in keeping with the norms of globalization of Indian economy under the World Trade Organisation regime. The Government will implement this Act from a date to be notified by the Department of Company Affairs in stages.

The Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Act, 2003, which seeks to amend the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, 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 receiver sets without having to go through the addressable systems, without requiring the subscribers to change the receiving set irrespective of the channels that they wish to receive and providing freedom of choice to subscribers to view the channels from amongst those offered by the cable service providers, flexibility for adoption of technological advancement and upgradation in the addressable systems with a provision for the Bureau of Indian Standards to lay down technical standards and performance parameters of the systems, with the authority of the Government to prescribe, from time to time, the maximum amount to be paid by the subscriber to the cable service provider for the basic service tier consisting of the bouquets of notified free-to-air channels and to determine the number of channels to be included in this tier and the maximum cost for the same in different States, cities and areas of the country, from time to time. The Government acquires effective power to enforce the amendments, violations of which would constitute a cognizable offence. The amendments are intended to enable the Government to protect the interest of the consumers and save them from predatory exploitation by cable service providers. The Act will come into force from a date to be notified by the Government in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

The Transfer of Property (Amendment) Act, 2003, which seeks to amend the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, provides that the period of notice regarding transfer of property shall commence from the date of its receipt and the amendment will apply to the pending suits or proceedrings and notices issued before the commencement of this amendment. It is intended to remove doubts and confusions under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act. This is also designed to help the courts expedite disposal of cases relating to transfer of property. The amendment follows the Supreme Court judgement in Mangilal Vs. Sugan Chand AIR, 1965 SC 101, 104 and the recommendations of the Law Commission of India. It has come into force with immediate effect.

The Indian Evidence (Amendment) Act, 2003, which seeks to amend the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, provides for deletion of clause 4 of Section 155 by specifically providing in Section 146 that in a prosecution for rape or attempt to commit rape, it will not be possible to put questions in the cross examination of the prosecutrix as to her general immoral character. This follows the recommendations of the Law Commission of India and the National Commission for Women. It has been observed that the defence counsels usually refer to prior sexual conduct of the complainant in their pleadings for demolishing her testimony that she did not consent, thus tarnishing the reputation and chances of marriage of the complainant. This women friendly amendment is intended to protect the individual honour and dignity of woman from being tarnished in the courts of law during the trial of rape or attempted rape cases. This amendment has come into force with immediate effect.