The Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act 1985

The Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act 1985 was enacted on 29 March 1985 by Parliament on 26th year of Republic of India which extends to whole of India. Definitions for the words like Advisory Committee, Handloom Manufacturer, Powerloom, Processor, Producer, are defined under Section 2 of the Act. Central Government can specify any article or class of articles for production by handlooms and anything contained in Industries (Development and Regulations) Act, 1951 will affect this Act. All the orders that is published should be put before House of Parliament for a period of 30 days when it is in session.  Both houses have the power to modify the order and such order will have effect in a modified manner.

Section 4 of the Act states that constitution of Advisory Committee will be of persons who is an expert in the concerned matter who can advice on it. The Advisory Committee shall give its recommendations to Central Government about the articles that are produced for mass consumption by handlooms, articles that are produced traditionally by handlooms, employment level for production of such article/class of articles, interest of the people who are engaged in the industry, its maintenance and any other matter that Advisory Committee deems fit.

Section 5 of the Act explains about any order that has been made under Section 3 of the said Act regarding reserving any article that is to be produced by reserved handloom itself. One exception here is that if a person has been engaged in producing such article before reservation of such an article other than handloom can continue to do so till 3 months from reservation date. Under Section 6 of the Act Central Government has the right to order any manufacturer to furnish any information with regard to the manufacturing activity or his business. Any officer incharge can inspect such samples of articles as specified in the order.  Every manufacturer must comply with such orders given by Central Government under the Act.

Any authorised officer appointed by Central Government can enter any premises of the manufacturer where textile articles are kept and inspect books of accounts, records or any other documents kept and  he can act as he may deems fit to carry out the purpose of the said Act.

Section 8 of the Act states that if any article produced is in contravention of the order, or articles are secreted in some place, and articles liable to forfeiture under this Act, then the authorised officer has power to search such places. If an authorised officer considers that such articles produced in contravention of any order, then he can seize such article along with the package/covering but where the article cannot be seized then the officer can serve on the owner that he should not remove the article without prior permissions of such an officer.

CrPC 1973 provisions regarding searches and seizures shall apply to every search under this Act. If anyone produce any article in contravention of the order can be punished for a term of six months or fine extending up to 5,000.00 rupees or both. If any person furnish false statements then he also will be punished under the Act. Punishment also applies to company under the said Act.

Every offence punishable under this Act is cognizable.  Central government can direct State Government to carry out necessary actions according to the provisions of the said Act. No Central/State Government employee can be prosecuted under the Act for any actions taken in good faith.

Central government can by order for such articles to be produced solely for the purpose of export or for research by institutions which can be published in Official Gazette of India.  Every such order has to be put before both Houses of Parliament for a period of 30 days while it is in session and the Houses can agree or modify the order as per the provisions of the Act. Central government can make rules by Official Gazette notification to carry out the purpose of the Act.

by Sushma Javare