The Border Security Force Act, 1968

The Act was provided with the short title as ‘The Border Security Force Act, 1968’ (Act no. 47 of 1968). The object and purpose for which the Act is provided, is for making provisions as to constitution and regulation of Union’s Armed Force to ensure the security of the Indian Borders. The present Armed Force is one out of the 5 Armed Forces under the Union of India, and the concerns for the same was raised in the wake of the 1965’s Indo- Pakistani War. The Act was enacted by the Indian Parliament after independence, in 19th year of republic of India and the same was assented by the President on 2nd September, 1968. And also the present enactment was brought into operation or to say was given effect from 1st day of March, 1969. The provisions of the Act are divided into 10 significant chapters, where in the first chapter is dealing with the short titling and commencement of the Act and also with the definitions of certain terms.

The second chapter of the Act is very important, insofar as it is making provisions as to constitution of the aforesaid Armed force and also all relevant provisions including its members conditions, etc. The Act requires constitution of Union Armed Force as ‘Border Security Force’ in the prescribed manner for ensuring security of the borders of India. For directions, general superintendence and control relating to said Board, the Central Government is authorized under this Act and for Command and Supervisions thereof, the Director- General of the Force as appointed by the Central Government is responsible, and for his assistance, the number of Central Government’s appointed Inspectors- General, Deputies thereof and Commandants and other relevant officers are provided. Besides these authorities, there are enrollments of persons to the said Force as in the manner prescribed by the Central Government. And all such members of the Force are also responsible under this Act to serve in both situations i.e. inland and outside India. And for resigning and withdrawing from duties, the Act lays down a condition that there should be a prior written permission of the given authority, rather such persons should hold the officer during the pleasure of the President of India. However, the Act makes provisions as to dismissal of such persons or members by different authorities therein. Notably, the Act provides for a condition to have prior sanction from the Central Government, for the persons subjected to this Act, for becoming the member of any trade union, labour union, political association, etc. and also of any society, institution, association or organisation, etc. which are not recognised being part of the Force. Even restriction is also made for communicating with the press or publishing any book, letter, etc. unless it is in bona fide discharge of duties.

The penal provisions under the Act are contained under separate Chapter being Chapter III of the Act, where number of offences, including the abandoning or delivering any post, place, shamefully, by the persons who are subjected to this Act, are punishable with the conviction by a Security Force Court either with death penalty or with less punishment. Moreover for other offences the punishment is also provided to extend up to 14 years imprisonment and other terms as are given for different numerous offences under the different other provisions of the Act. The scale of punishments which can be inflicted under this Act for the offences provided under chapter III, is given under next Chapter i.e. fourth chapter, where the maximum among all of those punishment is ‘death’ or ‘capital’ punishment. Moreover, the provisions regarding arresting of offenders under this Act and proceedings before their trial are contained under Chapter V of the Act, where specifically, a Force Custody is provided for detaining such offenders and also certain duties are provided for the Commandants while detaining any such offender. Further, the Act sought to appoint a Court of enquiry, which will be responsible to enquire into the matters of absence without availing leave for 30 days period.

Further, the Act provides for constitution of Security Force Courts, i.e. General Security Force Courts, Petty Security Force Courts and Summary Security Force Courts, which are to be convened by separate provided authorities. And regarding the powers, procedures, places of trial, dissolution, etc. in relation to the concerned Courts are contained under the subsequent provisions of the Act.

Moreover, besides all other relevant provisions, the Act under its chapter containing miscellaneous provisions speaks of empowerment of the Central government which by general or special order can issued direction to the effect that certain powers or function to be followed by the Members of the Force, on certain conditions and terms, which will be provided under the said directions. Such directions are provided under the provisions of the Act. The Central Government is empowered to have rule making authority under this Act which should be for effecting the provisions of this Act and also there are certain issues and matters given on which also such rules to provide. Following this authority, the Central Government had provided the Border Security Force, Rules, 1969.

The present Act as such makes all relevant provisions, insofar as the purpose of establishing the Border Securing Force- BSF (a Union Armed Force) and giving it a legal support. However, to make provisions very effective and suitable to the upcoming situations and circumstances, the Act was amended several times i.e. in the year 1986, 1988, etc. and recently in the year 2011. It was shown in the statement of Object and reasons clause of the Bill of 2011, that the said amendment was sought for amending the provisions of section 4 and 139 of the Original Act of 1968 for enabling the Central Government to deploy the BSF in the areas other than borders of India or its adjoining areas.

Read the Bare Act: The Border Security Force Act, 1968

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