The Export (Quality Control and Inspections) Act, 1963- An Overview

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The Export (Quality Control and Inspections) Act, 1963 (“The Act”) was enacted on 24.08.1963. As the name of the Act indicates, it is mainly used for quality Control, pre-inspection of goods that are exported and for its effective trade of India. Under this Act almost 1000 major commodities such from foods to footwear, etc, were scrutinized compulsorily before export. Later stage, Food products, Agricultural products and Fisheries products were exempted from pre-inspection if the exporter holds a genuine letter from the overseas buyer showing his unconcern on pre-inspection.

As this may be the State, Export Inspection Council (EIC) which is formed under Section 3 of the Act to ensure quality control, Inspection and its effective trade of commodities that are exported. It has a Chairman with 17 nominated members by Central Government. EIC extends its role in handling items related to food products. This Council advises, empowers and regulates the Central Government for taking measures to fulfill the purpose of this Act. EIC not only exercises advisory powers but they are very much into technical and administrative aspects. Central Government with the guidance of EIC inspects international standards of the commodities exported and uses suitable mechanism to inspect for quality control.

EIC holds control over several Export Inspection Agencies (EIA) in setup in various states of our country through Minister of Commerce, Government of India under Section 7 of the Act. EIC made a trend setup in rendering certifications on quality of export commodities through systematic inspection of commodities exported to the international markets. Consignment wise inspections, Food Safety Management Systems based Certifications, In-Process quality Control and Self-Certification are the main systems of inspections for certifications.

EIC under this Act is an apex body can constitute special committees if it feels necessary for the purpose of this Act. Likewise, EIC constituted Administrative, Technical and Standing Committees to perform its delegated functions. EIC is strengthening its roles and powers to enable effective trade in the international markets through quality control measures and pre-inspection systems. EIC extends its role on foods and food related products.

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This Act has been amended in the year 1984 through The Export (Quality Control & inspection) Amendment Act, 1984. Under this Central Government can do necessary expedient for effective export trade of India with the help of Council through notification in the Official Gazette. As per Section 6 of the Act, it can notify any commodities to scrutinize for quality control or pre-inspection before export or both. This Government can declare or reveal the methodology of quality control & inspection of commodities that are taken into. It can adopt any number of standards specifications on the commodity notified.

The Central Government can at anytime rejects any number of commodities from export if is not duly certified nor defaulted in any sort of specification that are to be complied for export trade of India. It can cancel, suspend and amend Certification if it feels necessary. Any aggrieved person under sub-section 3A can appeal within such period specified by Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette. There is no appeal under decision made under Section 6 of the Act.

The Central governments has enormous powers under the intention of quality control and inspection for efficient export trade of India. It can note down the conformity of standard specifications. It has powers to obtain information from exporters. Central Government with the approval of the Parliament can fund by way of grants, loan, etc, to the Council for discharging its role under this Act. It has power to enter, search, inspect and seize commodities.

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Search and Seizure under this Act be made in accordance with Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. There are several criminal provisions for the illegal act or omission by anybody. Appeal provisions are also available for the above criminal punishments. Nobody should be punished without the consent of the Central Government authorities. Similarly, no legal proceedings could be taken against the council, officer and employee of the Central Government, if it has done anything in good faith in purview of this Act. At last but not the least, The Central Government can frame any number of rules and regulations in good faith in pursuance of this Act through notifications in the Official Gazette.