Over the last few months, this country’s gone through a multitude of changes. Bills have been passed, amended, and repealed – leading to a seismic shift in how citizens view India. 35 bills were passed in 37 sittings, and it is being touted as the most productive Lok Sabha session in 20 years.

These moves have had their supporters and their naysayers, and the opposition has complained that they were done in a rush.   

1. Scrapping of Article 370. 

Article 370 granted special autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which meant Parliament needed the state government’s approval for applying any laws. It was repealed amidst a crackdown in the state which involved placing local political leaders under house arrest, invoking section 144, shutting down all internet and phone services, and announcing curfew.

The move was highly divisive, with a lot of people celebrating it. However, others around the country have lambasted the way this was handled, without taking the feelings of the Kashmiri people into account. The opposition has termed it an undemocratic move.


2. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill.

Crucial amendments were made to the UAPA Act recently, allowing the Centre and states to designate individuals as terrorists and seize their property. This can be done without an FIR, chargesheet, or trial.

Opposition members have argued that the amendments are unconstitutional and that they violate an individual’s right to liberty. Politicians like Mahua Moitra and Asaduddin Owaisi have spoken against it. 


3. Updating the NRC in Assam.

This year, an exclusion list with over 1.2 lakh names was released in relation to the NRC in Assam. The names were excluded in the register of citizens as they were found ineligible to be in the final draft. Those excluded would have the opportunity to file counterclaims, however, the time frame given was extremely short.

The move also faced massive criticism as it expected lakhs of people to produce all manner of personal documents, regardless of their age or home situation. Almost 30,000 people have to submit their documents for re-verification within a day or two at places which are around 500 to 800 kms from their current place of stay. They complain that they are facing extreme harassment.

Several organisations have urged Assam NRC authorities to provide adequate time to people to submit papers. 


4. The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill.

The effectiveness of the original 2005 RTI Act hinged on the independence of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and its equivalents in the states. However, the amendment allows the Centre to decide the tenure as well as the salary of the CIC and ICs. It would effectively nullify the independence of the state legislatures, and put total power in the Centre in terms of dismissals as well.

Opposition parties have termed it the ‘RTI Elimination Bill’, and have argued that there was no reason given for doing away with statutorily defined tenures. They claim it was steamrolled through in order to give the Centre more power.


5. The National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill.

The amendment to the NIA Act 2008 gave more teeth to the agency. The bill, which originally allowed for investigations into terror attacks on Indians and Indian interests abroad, will now also let the NIA probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking.

However, several opposition leaders have criticised the bill and accused the government of using the NIA for its own political vendettas. They claim they will misuse it on the basis of religion. This bill was passed through in July.


6. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill.

The bill, which passed on August 5th, seeks to provide a mechanism for social, economic and educational empowerment of transgender people.

However, it met with massive protests as it requires transgender persons to go through a district magistrate and a district screening committee to get certified as a trans person. A revised certificate can only be obtained if the person undergoes surgery to confirm their gender. There are no provisions for an appeal if the individual is denied a certificate.

It was expected to involve a lengthy and nuanced debate, but was instead passed within a couple of hours. 


While the ruling government has been hailing the passage of these bills as a success, the opposition has claimed that they have been bulldozed through without adequate scrutiny.