The Calcutta Port (Pilotage) Act, 1948

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An Act no. 33 of the year 1948 being ‘the Calcutta Port (Pilotage) Act, 1948’ was enacted with the object and purpose to making provisions as to transferring of control over pilotage on the River Highly to the Commissioners in respect of the Port of Calcutta. It was made clear in the objects and reasons that the Government was earlier vested with the administrative control of pilotage on the River Highly from the sea to the Calcutta Port limits. And as the Commissioners were responsible in relation to conversion and improvement of such Highly river and its approaches, and considering the experience, it was seen that for the better administration the Port Commissioners were to be made responsible for pilotage also. And after such Commissioners got agreed to the said proposal, the Bill was introduced, where such Commissioners provided with certain necessary legal powers as to maintaining the Carde of Pilots, collecting of Pilotage fees from vessels, etc. The present Act was assented on 16th day of April, 1946. There are in all 11 sections, where the provisions of the present enactment are divided. And in the first provision itself, the short title of the Act and about the commencement of the Act is given. The Central Government being empowered under this provision to provide for the commencement date of this Act, notified the same as 16th day of May, 1948, in the Official Gazette, when the provisions of this Act were brought into effect.

The second provisions deals with certain definitions of the terminologies under this Act including, the term ‘appointed day’ that here means the day on which the present Act brought into force, i.e. 16th day of May, 1948, ‘Commissioners’ are those who were incorporated for Port of Calcutta under the provisions of Calcutta Port Act, 1890 and ‘Highly area’ is a part of the Highly river extending to the Sea from the port of Calcutta in relation to which the provisions of section 31 of the Indian Ports Act, 1908 is applicable.

The duties of the Commissioners under this Act in relation to maintenance of the pilots, as aforesaid, are specified under section 3 of the Act where it is made clear that such duties will be applicable to such Commissioners from the aforesaid appointed day and the same is for the safe Vessels’ navigation in the said Highly area. Besides, such Commissioners are also made responsible for maintaining a sufficient and necessary number of Pilots for the prescribed purposes which will be specified from time to time by the Central Government. And for such maintaining of number of Pilots, there should be appointment subject to condition that the person will be eligible if he, at the time of such appointment, is authorized to the Pilot vessels, by the Central Government within the provisions of the Indian Ports Act, 1908.

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Moreover, in relation to such maintenance, the aforesaid Commissioners are made entitled to frame rules from time to time, in relation to the salaries, wages, etc. fixing and regulating, of the Pilotage which will be receivable by the Pilots and also in relation to the conducts and behaviors regulation of the pilots. Besides there is a provisions for looking over the enforcement of such Rules, where authority as to imposition of fines up to 200 rupees for every such violation of the rules can be made and also there are optional punishments provide which will be either Suspension or deprivation of appointment, etc. However, while providing for the rules there is condition as to previous sanction of the Central Government and its approval to the same, and also the Central Government to publish the same in the Official Gazette.

Further, there is provisions as to imposition of the fees being Pilotage fees, are contained under the section 6 of the Act, where the Commissioner is made entitle to impose such Pilotage fees from the appointed day for the pilot age of vessels in the said Highly area and its rates will be as such as fixed under the provisions of the Indian Ports Act. 1908. It is further made clear that all such pilotage fees, fines, etc. which are levied under the provisions of this Act, will be recovered, accounted and also expended by such Commissioners, in accordance with the provisions mentioned under section 36 of the Indian Ports Act, 1908. The provision as to expenditure in the pilotage account, is repealed by the Port Trusts and Ports (Amendment) Act, 1951 (Act no. 35 of 1951). It is provided in section 9 that the Commissioners will be having an authority subjected to the Central Government’s prior sanction, that the moneys from the General account can be transferred and apply in the pilotage accounts and also vice versa transfer can be made.

At the end part of the provisions it is made clear that certain provisions of the Calcutta Port Act, 1890, including Sections 18, 19, 24B, 29, etc. will be incorporated in relation to this present Act, however, required modifications can be made, which are specifically given under this Act. And lastly the Act was seeking to amend certain provisions of the Calcutta Pilots Act of 1859, however the said amending provision was repealed by the Repealing and Amending Act, 1950 (Act no. 35 of 1950).

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