The present piece of legislation is one, which was provided with the name and short title as ‘the Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000’ (Act no. 34 of 2000). And the ultimate aim and object for which the concerned legislation was enacted, is to bring into operation the contemplation made under the Convention on The Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and also on their Destruction. Earlier, on 14th day of January, 1993, the concerned Convention was signed for the Government of India at Paris, and the was become effective from the year 1997, as such it was become obligatory to the India to give effect to the said Convention, as such the present Act was enacted by the Indian Parliament. The entire Indian territories of India were taken for extending the provisions of this Act and even the Indian Citizen, association, branches, etc. of the entities incorporated in India, outside the country are the subjects of the Act. And on 26th day of August, 2000, the President of India has given his assent to the present enactment and on 1st day of July, 2005 the provisions of the Act excluding Sections 18 and 39 thereof were brought into operation by the Central Government’ notification published in the Official Gazette. The provisions contemplated in the Act are divided into seven chapters and 56 sections therein, however, with the passage of time which has passed from the passing of the Act, till now, there are several amendments which were made in the present Act by the Amending Act no. 36 of 2012.
Certain important provisions in the present enactment are started containing from section 3 under the first Chapter, where it is required that the Convention as aforesaid and also as specified in the Schedule annexed to this Act, to have effect of force of law, irrespective of whatever contrary contained in any law. And for amending the Scheduled so provided, the Central Government is only having authority, however, such amendments should be in conformity with the amendments provided with the Convention. Any request for inspecting a Chemical Weapons Production Facility In India, if found derogatory to the National security or economic interests of Country, then the same can be denied by the Central Government. Similarly, if in case the Government of India withdraws from the Convention as per its provisions, then the Central Government can publish a notification to the effect that the present Act is ceased to have effect, however, irrespective of such declaration of making Act effectless, the prior operations done under this Act or rules or eve orders made under this Act or rules, the rights, privileges, etc. settled in this Act, the penalty, forfeiture, etc. imposed under this Act, or other mentioned things done in furtherance to the provisions of this Act, should not be affected.
For the establishment of the National Authority and its powers, functions, the provisions contained in the next subsequent chapter provides for. The Central Government is empowered under this Act to establish such National Authority to implement the provisions of the Convention. Such establishment is to be published through the Notification in the Official Gazette. The National Authority so established is consisting of the Chairperson and other Central Government’s appointed Directors, Officers and Employees. And the Central Government is the supervisory authority under whose control the powers and functions by the National Authority to be dealt with, which are mentioned under section 7 of the Act. Besides, all other functions, the Act requires the National Authority to prepare initial, annual and other reports or declarations in relation to the Toxic Chemicals or Precursors as are required under the Schedules no. 1 to 3 dealing with the Chemicals annexed to the Convention and also all other declaration required under the Convention. All such declarations are sought under this Act to be submitted to the Organization established under the provisions of the Convention. Besides, the Act again authorises the Central Government to appoint enforcement Officer of the National Authority or of that Government and the similar authority is also given to the State Governments. The National Authority, under this Act is provided with the authority to direct the person, officer or authorities, etc. in relation to the performance of functions under this Act. And to overlook the functioning of the National Authority, the Central Government is vested with the power to constitute a necessary Committee
Section 13 of the Act is very important, as it is imposing prohibition on the development, production, use etc. of Chemical Weapons except those which are permitted by the Convention. Similarly, in case of the Toxic Chemical or Precursor also certain prohibitions are enlisted under this Act.
For the registration of persons who are engaged in such production, development, etc. work of such Toxic Chemical or Precursor enlisted any of the Schedules 1 to 3 in the Annex on Chemicals to the Convention, an application is to be made to the prescribed Registration authority. Further, provisions regarding inspections of places and such persons are also provided under the Act. Also for non-compliance of the request of Inspectors, etc. or does anything mentioned as against the law, will be treated as an offence under this Act. Besides, several other powers are also entrusted with certain authorities in relation to the subject of this Act. Moreover, the categories of punishments are provided under the Act for certain offences prescribed therein.
In the miscellaneous provisions of the Act, it is provided that, the actions taken by the Central Government, State Government, or any other officers of the National Authority in good faith or sought to be taken in pursuance with the provisions of this Act or rules provided under this Act, are protected against the legal actions. The power to delegate is also provided. All the authorities, officers, etc. including Chairperson, Directors, officers, etc. of the National Authority are sought to be treated as public servants. The Central Government is again empowered under this Act to make orders for removing difficulties which would arise while the provision herein are given effect. The ending provision of the Act sought the making of rules, by the Central Government, for carrying out the purposes of this Act, and also on the matters provided under this Act.
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