The Coffee Act was enacted on March 2, 1942 with an objective to expand and promote the coffee production by the Union Government. The application of the Act extends to the Indian Territory as a whole but does not have effect on the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The control of the coffee industry by the Union was expedient in the interest of the public.
The Act defines the term ‘coffee’ as the product obtained from a fruit known by the name of rubiaceous plant which consists of treated and untreated coffee, roasted, cured and prepared coffee. The Act provides for the Constitution of Coffee Board which shall be the Indian Coffee Market Expansion Board established under the Indian Coffee Market Expansion Ordinance of 1940. The members of the Board includes the Chairman entrusted by the Central Government, Members of the Parliament, representatives of the coffee producing states, coffee industries, curing enterprises, interests of the customers and such other members appointed by the Central Government.
The number of representatives from different categories, the tenure of holding office, the process to be followed in fulfilling their functions and responsibilities shall be in the manner provided. The Coffee Board shall have all the powers of a company with permanent succession, common seal, right to purchase and dispose off property, right to enter into agreements and the right to litigate. The assets or properties and the liabilities in the hands of the Indian Coffee Cess Committee shall be transferred to the Coffee Board after the commencement of the present Act. Likewise, the officials and staff working under the control of the Committee shall remain as the employee of the Board and the Committee was suspended by the Act. The Indian Coffee Cess Committee is the Committee established by the Indian Coffee Cess Act of 1935.
Normally, the Central Government is required to inquire about the opinion of the Board before conducting any activity regarding the affairs of the Board. But the actions of the Central Government cannot be annulled on the argument that the Central Government did not discuss with the Board before taking the action. The Act empowers the Board to assign a committee for employing such number of staffs for the efficient conduct of the functions of the Board. The Board shall also entrust agents to perform certain functions for the promotion, accumulation and curing coffee.
The Central Government is permitted under the Act to appoint Chief Coffee Marketing Officer and such other officials necessary to implement the powers and accomplish duties under the control of the Board. The Central government shall also impose customs duty on the coffee manufactured in India and the coffee exported from India at the rates fixed by the Government after publishing in the Gazette of India. The customs duty collected by the Government is the part of Consolidated Fund of India, but such amount shall be utilized for the activities of the Board according to the law made by the Parliament.
The owners of the coffee estates situated wholly or partly in India shall register before the registering officer appointed by the State Government within one month from the date on which he happened to the holder of the estate. The Act gives power to the Central Government to determine the wholesale or retail price at which coffee shall be sold at the market after notifying in the Gazette of India. The sale and accumulation of coffee shall be as prescribed under the Act and according to the procedure laid down by the Central Government.
The Coffee Act was also amended by the Coffee (Amendment) Act of 1994 which came into force on January 14, 1994. The amendment Act repealed the Coffee (Amendment) Ordinance, 1994.