The Central Silk Board Act, 1948 (Act no. 61 of 1948) is an Act of Central Government, enacted with the aim and object to make provisions for developing the Silk industry under the control of Central Government. Also the Act sought to provide for a Board being ‘Central Silk Board’ by making provisions in it. The provisions of the Act, originally, were divided into seventeen sections, however, certain provisions were amended and also some were taken off from the enactment by several Amending Acts. The Act was enacted by the Indian Parliament and on 20th day of September, 1948 it was assented by the President of India. For its extension, it was provided that, the provisions of this enactment were to be extended to the entire India territories, however, earlier the State of Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Mysore and Travancore- Cochin were exempted from its extension. But by the Amending Act of 1951 (Act no. 3 of 1951), the provisions were extended to the States like, Hyderabad, Mysore and Travancore- Cochin, however, the exemption was continued in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Act makes provision as to declare that the Silk industry should be take under the control of the Union as the same was expedient in the interest of Public. Further, relating to the provisions of this Act, certain essential definitions were provided for the terms used therein.
Besides declaring such expediency of taking control under Union of the Silk Industry, as aforesaid, the provisions are also extended in relation to the constitution of the Board. The Central Government is authorized under this Act for such constitution of Board which here named as ‘Central Silk Board’ for the purpose of this Act. There should be published a notification for such constitution by the Central Government in the Official Gazette and such Board will be a Corporate Body with is name and will be having all features as the registered company is having within the provisions of concerned law. For the composition of the said Board under this Act, the earlier provisions were substituted by the new provided by the Amending Act of 1953 (Act no. 31 of 1953). As per such new provision, there should be a Central Government appointed Chairman, 3 Central Government nominated Officers, 6 Parliament’s elected persons (from the House of People, 4 and from the Council of States, 2), five persons being nominated by the State Government of Mysore, one from State Government of Madras’s nominated, two from State Government of West Bengal’s nominated and others from other different State Government’s and also Central Government’s nominated persons. There is also provision also appointment of Vice- Chairman from amongst the members of the Board. And to constitute Standing Committee, the Board is empowered. Besides, all these authorities, there is provision to appoint Secretary to the Board by the Central Government.
Further, in section 8 of the Act, the functions of the Board so constituted under previous provisions are discussed. The basic and main function of the Board is to promote the development of the Silk industry by adopting necessary measures and also certain measures which are specifically provided in the Act itself. Besides there are also certain duties for the Board including, duty for advising the Central Government on all matters connected with the development of the raw silk industry, including the import and export of raw silk, duty as to submitting 6 monthly, reports to the Central Government and other prescribed authorities and also duty to prepare and furnish other connected reports to the silk industry to the requirements the Central Government.
Further provisions as to funds of the Board which here to be credited by the necessary Grants by the Central Government which were to be issued by that Government to enable the Board for exercising its powers and duties provided under this Act.
Notably, the Act under its section 10 provides for levy and collection of excise duties as Cess on the filature raw silk and spun silk at the rates fixed by the Central Government. The reelers of such silk will be responsible for payment of such Cess to the Board within the prescribed period of 1 month from the date on which the demand notice issued by the Board under this Act will be received by such reelers. There are also provided certain criteria in which the Board will assess the amount of such duty of excise. The reeler feeling aggrieved by such assessment are provided with right to appeal before the District Judge within 3 months period from the date of receipt of that Notice.
Moreover, the Central Government is provided with the vetto authority in the Act, which can cancel, suspend, modify, the actions or orders of the Board. Further the Board is required to maintain the accounts under the Act. The Central Government, under this Act is further, authorized to have rule making powers, i.e. to make rules for the purpose of carrying out the purpose of this Act, and as such that Government has provided for the Central Silk Board (Election) Rules, 1949 and the Central Silk Board Rules, 1955. Also, by the aforementioned Amending Act of 1953, certain matters in placed of original ones, are expressly substituted on which the Central Government can such rules. And it is made clear that such rules to first tabled before the Parliament, and then only will have force of law. Further, in the penal provision, the Act sought to penalise the acts of making false statements in the return furnished under this Act, obstructing any officers of the Board who was discharging his duties under this Act and failing to produce books, or records required under this Act, even after having control and custody thereof. And the punishment for such offences are to be inflicted in the form of imprisonment extending to 1 year’s term or there will be fine extending to 1000 rupees, or even with both imprisonment and fine, the punishment will be inflicted. Also, it is added to the Act by the said Amending Act of 1953 that, if such offences are committed by a company, then persons in charge or responsible of conduct of the business of that company and the Company itself will be guilty thereof. However, for institution of the prosecution of the Offence under this Act, the consent of the Central Government is necessarily required. And by the Amending Act of 1953, the Courts not inferior to the Presidency Magistrate of Judicial Magistrate of First Class, will only be having jurisdiction in cases of trying such offences. And for acts of Board, its Members or Officers done in good faith or sought to be done under the provisions of this Act, are protected against legal actions.
As such the Act makes very comprehensive provisions as to put the Silk industry under the control of Union of India, and its overall control, as such is vested with the Board under this Act. However, the provisions are also amended recently in year 2006 by the Act no. 42 of 2006.
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