The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005

The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 (Act no. 28 of 2005) has received the assent of the President of India on 23rd June, 2005 and was enacted with the object to provide for establishment of Special Economic Zones. Such zones are to be established to promote the export from India. The Act also provides for development and management of such zones. The extension of the provisions of the Act is given to extend over whole of India.

The Act under its second chapter provides for such establishment of special economic zones. Section 3 says that there initially there should be a proposal for establishing such zones to be made by person intending thereto after having identifying the area. Such zones are to established under this Act by the Central Government, State Governments or even by anyone either jointly or even can severally. On such proposals the approval letter can be granted and after the same the Developer is responsible to submit exact particulars of the identified area to the Central Government. And after required consideration to the particular and on satisfaction the Central Government can declare through notification that the identified area to be a Special Economic Zone. For such declaration or notifying the area as special economic zone, the Act provides for certain guidelines under section 5 thereof. And thereafter the Developer on its authorization from the Board should undertake specified operations in that zone. The another important provision which the Act provides under its section 7, that all goods or services either exported or imported or even procured from Domestic Tariff Area, either by a unit in such a zone or by a Developer should be exempted from taxes, etc. under the legislations provided under Schedule-I to this Act, however subject to certain terms and conditions. Chapter III of the Act speaks for constitution of aforesaid Board, by the Central Government. Such Board is also to consist of several officers and their terms and conditions of the service and etc. are also specified under this chapter. The Powers, duties, functions, etc. of such Board is provided under section 9 of the Act, including the promotion and development being orderly of the zones and other number of functions as has been enlisted under this provision. In case of failure on the part of Developer in performing the duties or functions under this act or otherwise under as per the conditions or terms provided under the letter of approval, then Board can suspend such letter for not more than 1 year’s period on given him a notice of 3 months and it can also appoint Administrator in place of such Developer.

Further, the Act provides for appointment of Development Commissioner of the Special Economic Zones and other officials to assist him. The functions of such Development Commissioner are enumerated under section 12 of the Act and especially along with its other function the said Commission is also required to undertake the speedy development of the Zone and exports promotion therefrom. Provisions for setting up of International Financial Services Centre in a Zone is also given under Act.

The Central Government can provide loans or other grants to the Authority under the law provided in this behalf by Parliament. Such Authority is required to constitution of fund to be called with the name of concerned Special Economic Zone and such Fund to be credited with the all moneys from different sources as has been given under section 36 of the Act. Section 37 provides for accounts and auditing of the such accounts to be maintained by such Authority. When the authority found unable to perform its duties under the Act or if performing but with committing default while performance thereof, then the Central Government is required to supersede that Authority for not more than 6 months period. And all these members, authorities, officials connected to such special economic zone, are treated as public servant within its meaning under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

The Chapter dealing with the miscellaneous provisions under this Act, says its first instance that the disputes being civil disputes to be referred to arbitration if they are between entrepreneurs or Developers and entrepreneurs, etc. and if there has been no Court designated under section 23 of this Act.

There is a protection provided to the Central Government or persons from Board or even to the authority and to the Development commission against all legal impediments or actions in they are acting in good faith and under the requirements provided under this Act. Section 52 says that the provisions relating to special economic zones, contained under Chapter X-A of the Customs Act, 1962, the Special Economic Zones Rules, 2003 and the Special Economic Zones (Customs Procedure) Regulations, 2003 should not apply to the Special Economic Zones. Further, the Central Government is vested with the power to make rules under this Act and also to provide for removing difficulties which can arise while giving effect to the provisions of this Act.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.