HIV Act: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Issues Official Notification

New Legislation Enacted

On September 10, 2018, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued notification of the HIV Act, which aims to prevent discrimination against a “protected person,” defined as an individual who (a) is HIV positive, or (b) is living or has lived, resided, or cohabited with a person who is HIV-positive. The Act prohibits discrimination and/or unfair treatment of such protected persons on various grounds, including matter of employment or occupation; healthcare services; education; the right to reside, purchase, rent, or otherwise occupy, any property; and opportunity to stand for, or, hold public or private office. Every establishment that maintains HIV-related records of a ‘protected person’ must adopt data protection measures to ensure confidentiality of information.

Supreme Court of India Decriminalizes Homosexuality

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

On September 6, 2018, in a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality. In Navtej Singh Johar & Ors., v. Union of India, the Court held that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual relationships between LGBT persons was archaic and arbitrary, finding that the criminalization of private, consensual sexual acts between adults (i.e., persons above the age of 18 years who are competent to consent) is violative of Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution of India. The Court also clarified that consent must be free, which is completely voluntary in nature, devoid of any duress and coercion.

Enhanced Compliance with the Sexual Harassment Act for Indian Companies

New Regulation or Official Guidance

On July 31, 2018, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs officially announced new rules known as “Companies (Accounts) Amendment Rules, 2018” (Rules), which require companies to incorporate into their board’s report a “statement that the company has complied with provisions relating to the constitution of Internal Complaints Committee under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013.” However, the aforementioned obligation is not applicable to One Person Company or Small Company.

Important Changes to Minimum Wage Compliances in Delhi

New Regulation or Official Guidance

The Minimum Wages (Delhi) Amendment Act, 2017 (Amendment Act), which recently came into force, has made it mandatory for employers to pay wages electronically, except in situations such as a natural disaster, fire, or death of the employer. The Amendment Act has also enhanced the punishment with regard to non-compliance, which has been increased to imprisonment for 3 years and/or fine of INR 50,000 (approx. USD $698) from erstwhile term of 6 months and/or fine of INR 500 (approx. USD $69.80).

Draft Bill for Personal Data Protection

Proposed Bill or Initiative

In July 2018, the Committee of Experts on a Data Protection Framework for India submitted the Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 (Draft Bill) to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Ministry). Section 16(1) of the Draft Bill allows processing of personal data if such processing is necessary for employment-related matters, subject to certain conditions. The Draft Bill, if enacted, would impose additional obligations on employers for collecting and processing employee data. The Draft Bill has been published on the Ministry’s website and awaits feedback from the general public.