The Metal Tokens Act, 1889

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The Metal Tokens Act, 1889  has been enforced on 1st February, 1889 by British Raj and has been repealed by the enactment of The Coinage Act, 2011. The Coinage Act, 2011, received the President’s assent on 1st September, 2011 and published in the gazette on 2nd September, 2011, is enacted for the purpose of consolidating the laws related to coinage and mints so that all the related laws can be merged into one. Therefore, the metal tokens act, 1889 is one of the related laws and has been repealed after the Coinage Act, 2011 came into force.

The Metal tokens act, 1889 (hereinafter referred to as “The Act”) consists of nine sections in which two sections have been repealed. Section 7 has been repealed by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and section 9 has been repealed by The Repealing Act of 1938.  The objective of enactment was to protect the coins and for other purposes. Since the Act was of pre – independence era, Metal Tokens (Amendment) Act, 1962 (hereinafter referred to “The Amending Act”) was legislated with the objective to amend the Act of 1889. Section 1(2) of the Act was amended which provides that the Act is applicable to all parts of India. Section 2 of the act provides the definition of term “issue” which was also amended by the amending act of 1962. Issue means the metal which is circulated in the form of money and is in contravention to the Act or has been brought by sea or by land under the notification of section 19 of the Sea Customs Act, 1878. It means, thereby that if a person is found guilty for contravening the above said provision, he will be punished for one year imprisonment and/or with fine provided the accused is being convicted for the first time under this Act. If not, the accused will be punished with three years imprisonment and/or with fine as mentioned in Section 4 of the Act. Moreover, all those pieces of metals as mentioned above and the instruments and materials required for making such metals shall be forfeited. Section 4 also deals with the burden of proof. It provides that the burden of proving the intention of the accused will be on the accused himself.

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Copper and Bronze metals were not used for making coins. Central Government was the deciding authority and copper and bronze were used only with the permission of Central Government. The contravention would make it a cognizable offence punishable under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882. If the person is accused of bringing copper or bronze or any mixed metals which for the time being is prohibited by the Central Government by notification under section 19 of the Sea Customs Act, 1878, in that case, the person will be treated as an accused under this act and not under Sea Customs Act, 1878. The offence will be treated as cognizable and the burden of proving innocent will be on the accused himself.  The local and railway authority can accept only those coins as money which is mentioned in the Indian Penal Code. If they contravene, they will be punished with fine extending up to ten rupees.

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by Neha Dayal.