THE EXPLOSIVES ACT, 1884

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The Explosives Act is an enactment framed during the British regime in India. The Act extends to the Indian Territory as a whole including the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Act defines an ‘aircraft’ as any machine that has the capacity to gain support in the atmosphere from the effect of air but does not include the effect of air against the surface of the earth and consists of fixed or free balloons, gliders, airships, flying machines and kites. The Act further explains the meaning of ‘carriage’ as any carriage, means of transportation, wagon cart, truck or other means of transporting products or traveler by land in any way the same may be driven.

According to the Act, an ‘explosive’ includes gunpowder, gun cotton, lead azide, ritroglycol, lead styphynate, fulminate of mercury, trinitramine or any other metal comprising of coloured fires or any other solid, liquid or gaseous matter utilized or produced for the production of practical result by explosion. It also includes fog indications, fire works, detonators, rockets, ammunition of all kinds, catridges, fuses and all alteration of formation of an explosive as provided under the Act. The Act provides that the Central Government may formulate rules in consonance with the legislation to control or ban the production, possession, trade, transportation, overseas trade of explosives or support prescribed category of explosives. But the Central Government shall act according to the stipulations provided under the license issued under the rules. The rules framed by the Central Government shall cover the following matters:

  • The authority under which the license is issued;
  • The fee to be remitted for issuing license and other amount to be paid for the expenditure incurred by the applicants for obtaining license;
  • The mode of preparing the application for obtaining license and the details to be entered in the application;
  • The mode and form under which the license is to be issued;
  • The term for which the license is to be granted;
  • The authority empowered to hear appeals, the proceedings of such authority and the limitation period for submitting appeal, the prescribed fee that is to be remitted and the situations under which the fee is to be remitted;
  • The amount of explosives that can be bought by the licensee in the prescribed time;
  • The fee to be imposed by the Chief Controller of Explosives or an authorized officer for the services provided in relation with the production, transportation and commerce of explosives;
  • The exclusion conditionally or absolutely of any explosives or ally persons or certain category of persons from the provisions of the rules.
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The Central Government is empowered to ban conditionally or completely the production, control or import of any dangerous explosives if it is practical for safety of the public. Where any person produces, possess or imports any dangerous explosive disregarding the notification issued under the Act shall be punished with imprisonment or fine as provided under the Act. The Act prohibits the production, possession, commercial dealings or transportation of explosives by persons below the age of eighteen years, certain convicts and other persons mentioned under the Act.

The license under the Act shall be issued by the concerned authority, on submission of application for license by a person, after conducting inquiry and considering other matters provided under the Act. The aggrieved party from the order of the licensing authority shall prefer an appeal to the appellate authority within the specified period. The persons contravening the provisions of the Act or any statements mentioned under the rules shall be penalized with imprisonment and fine.

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The Central Government has framed the Explosives Rules in 2008 for the strict compliance of the provisions of the enactment. In addition, the Central Government has prepared the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and the Explosive Substances (Amendment) Act, 2001 for the security and safety of the public.