The Spices Board Act, 1986

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The Central Government legislation which was short titled as ‘Spices Board Act, 1986’ (Act no. 10 of 1986 was enacted with the object and purpose of providing constitution of a Board, as appears from its title and such Board should deal with the development of export of spices and also the control over the industries dealing with cardamom along with controlling its cultivation too. The Act was assented on 28th March, 1986 by the hon’ble President of India and the same was to extend over entire Indian territory. The provisions of the Act were brought into force on 26th February, 1987 by notifying in the notification by the Central Government.

The second chapter of the Act provides that the Central Government should notify the constitution of the corporate body and name it as Spices Board. The same Board, being one of the five commodity of the Board, which were functioning under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, was constituted on 26th February, 1987. Such Board should be consisting of not more than 32 members in all, including a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and other members as the provision of section 3 provides. So far as appointment of Secretary and other officers, employees are concerned the Board is empowered and the regulations to provide for the terms and conditions of their service. Moreover, the Board is to constitute the committees necessary to discharge functions of the Board.

Further, section 6 of the Act is important as it is connected with the acquisition and vesting of properties and assets in the Board constituted under this Act, which previously were vested with the Cardamom Board of 1968 and the Spices Export Promotion Council of 1960. Similarly, all the debts, obligations, etc. and also moneys with the earlier Cardamom Board or with that Council should also be transferred and vested with the Board. All the employees who before the Act brought into force were under the Cardamom Board or the Spices Export Promotion Council should also be treated as that of the Board. Further, section 7 of the Act enlisted a number of functions of the Board.

Moreover, the Act provides for registration of owners of the land on which Cardamom plantation is there. Such land can be either a part of one or more estate. Application for registration is required to be made within one month and not beyond that, from the date on which such owner firstly became as such relating to that estate, however extension of time period can be made by such authorized officer. State Government authorised officer is to entertain such applications. State Government is further authorized to make rules for such registration, including the form, fees, particulars, etc. of registration. Further, section 10 says that the registered owner should furnish return to the Board and the Board is empowered to authorize an officer to verify and check the accuracy of the return by inspecting the estate in relation to which the registered owner has furnished his return.

The Act further specifies under its fourth chapter that every persons who are starting or carrying on the business of exporting any spices should start or carry on the same business as per terms of Certificate. The Board is empowered to grant such certificate on the application which should duly made in the form prescribed and should be accompanied with the receipt of prescribed fees paid. While granting such applications and issuing certificate the Board can impose certain terms and conditions to which the certificate-holder will be bound to observe. However, when it is appeared to the Board that any holder of the certificate has violated any term or condition under such certificate or the Central Government has opined that the certificate is required to be cancelled, the Board can after first suspending the operation of the certificate for 45 days and giving notice of 15 days to the concerned holder to show his cause, cancel the certificate. An appeal provision is also made under section 14 of the Act where such persons aggrieved can prefer challenge to the Central Government against such cancellation by the Board. The Central Government is given other important power to permit the export thereof without such certificate if it is in public interest.

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Further, chapter V makes provision to put control on price, etc. of the Cardamom by the Central Government. Similarly, a prohibition or control can be made by the Central Government in relation to the imports of Cardamom.

The central Government can issue grants and loans of necessary amounts to the Board after having due appropriation from parliament by a law, as is required under next chapter of the Act. The Board as such is required under section 21 to constitute Fund credited with such grants and loans as aforesaid, and all other moneys specified under the provision. Such fund is constituted to apply for expenses as to providing salary, allowances, etc. of the employees of the Board and other expenses of the Board. The provisions as to budget, annual reports, accounts and auditing are contained under forgoing provisions of this Act.

Under the last chapter of the Act which is dealing with miscellaneous provisions, the starting part thereof consisting of several penal provisions. The persons having furnished a false return under this Act, obstructed any authorized persons or employees, etc. of the Board while they exercising their lawful duties under the Act, and all other acts explained under sections 26 to 31 of this Act, are the offences under this Act and such persons to be liable for punishment prescribed therewith. Moreover, the same chapter further says that for initiation of prosecution in relation to such offences under the Act, the sanction being previous from the Central Government is required.

Further, the Board is empowered to delegate the powers to its Chairman or other member or officer as per necessities. Such members, employee, etc. of the Board are given status of public servant under this Act and against them or even against Board, Government, committee, etc. no legal action can be brought or maintained for their actions taken under good faith and in pursuance with the provisions of this Act. There are number of matters given under the section 38 of the Act on which the Central Government is empowered to make rules. Basically the Central Government should also provide under the rules to carry on the purpose of the Act along with other matters. The Board also empowered to make regulations on the given matters, however, a previous approval from Central Government is required.

Lastly, the Act specks of repealing the provisions contained under sections 3 to 33 of the Cardamom Act, 1965 (Act no. 42 of 1965) without affecting the action taken under that provisions previously.

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