The Salt Cess Act, 1953

The Salt Cess Act, 1953 (Act no. 49 of 1953) was assented by the Hon’ble President Of India on 26th December, 1953 and the same Act was brought into force on 2nd January, 1954 by the notification dated 29th December, 1953 of Ministry of Production. The Act was provided with the object to impose and collect the Cess on Salt for raising the funds for the purpose of meeting the expenses incurred on the Salt organisation, maintained by the Government. Similarly, the funds are also to meet the expenses incurred by the Government on the measures taken by it, connected to Manufacture, Supply and Distribution of Salt. The present Act is extended to the entire Indian territory, however, the State of Jammu and Kashmir is exempted from its extension, as per preliminary provisions of the Act. However, the said exemption from the extension of the Act to the State of Jammu and Kashmir was taken off by the Jammu and Kashmir (Extension of Laws) Act, 1956 (Act no. 62 of 1956).

Section 2 of the Act provides for certain definitions in the Act. The terms like, Manufacture, Salt, etc. are defined under this provision for providing better interpretation of the provisions of the Act, while its implementation.

Section 3 deals with the important provision regarding levy and collection of cess on Salt, where it is provided that such cess should levied and collected in prescribed manner in the nature of excise duty at the rate of 14 naya paisa for every 40 kilograms of Salt of all kinds, which is manufactured in India in any factory either is owned by Government or otherwise not. Similarly, the subsequent provision i.e. section 4 of the Act deals with utilization of proceeds of cess, as at the first instant the collection or proceeds should be first reduced by cost of collection and thereafter to be utilized on the objects enlisted under this provision. The objects as specified under this provision includes utilization of proceeds to meet expenditure incurred in relation to salt organization maintained by the Central Government and to meet cost of measures taken in relation to manufacture, supply and distribution of salt by other agencies.

Even the Act makes provision to the effect that whatever charges have imposed and collected under the Rule of 1947 made by the Central Government under the provision of section 37 of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 (Act no. 1of 1944) in connection with the Manufacturing or production of Salt and prior to this Act brought into effect, should be treated as have been levied or collected under the provisions of this Act.

Section 6 is important, in so far as it is connected with the power of Central Government to make rules by notifying in the Official Gazette. Such rules to be provided for carrying out the object and purpose of this Act i.e. to say to provide for imposition and collection of the Cess on Salt for raising the funds for the purpose of meeting the expenses incurred on the Salt organisation, maintained by the Government, etc. Such rules should also provide for other matters provided particularly under section 6(2) of the Act, under several clauses therein. The matters on which the rules to be made includes, the matter of assessment and collection of the cess which will be levied under the provisions of this Act. Similarly, it also includes the matter of determination of the cost of such collection of salt cess; manner of maintenance of accounts in respect of the proceeds of cess; manner of application of the proceeds of the cess on the object which is provided under section 4 of the Act and also for exemption from payment of cess in several given respects. On all such given matters the Rules to be made by the Central Government under the provisions of this Section 6. Moreover, such rules to be first tabled before both Houses of parliament in session for the given period for rectification.

The Act as such is a law on levy and collection of duty on the salt, the India has a great history of its great National leader (father of Nation) Mahatma Gandhi, who initiated struggle for Salt, namely, Salt Satyagraha, 1930. The Act is essential as its dealing with the Salt. There is management machinery in India dealing with Salt. At the first position there is Salt Commissioner’s Organisation, attached to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, which is responsible for controlling all aspects of the Salt Industry. The head of the department i.e. the Salt Commissioner is based at Jaipur Head Quarter and also there are five Regional Offices under him, headed by Deputy and Assistant Salt Commissioners.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.