The Sugar (Regulation of Production) Act, 1961

The Sugar (Regulation of Production) Act, 1961 being Act no. 55 of the year 1961 is one from the food and public distribution categories of enactment. The Act was basically provided with the object to regulate the production of sugar in the general public interests. Further, the long title of the Act specified its purpose for regulating the imposition and collection of special excise duty on production of Sugar by the factories, if such production is exceeding the fixed quota. In other words, the fixation of quantity of sugar which can be produced in the Sugar Factories in a year, is provided under this Act. The applicability of the provisions of the Act was extended to the entire Indian territories, however, the State of Jammu and Kashmir is exempted from such extension. The Date on which the provisions herein were brought in to force or operation is 1st November, 1961 as has been given under the Act itself. The Act contains eight sections making provisions similar to the purpose thereof.

The first two sections are making preliminary provisions under the Act, and provides for short title, extension and date of commencement of the Act, as aforesaid and also for the definitions of various terms used under the several provisions under this Act.

The provisions from section 3 to last section of the Act are very much important, so far as these are connected with the purpose of the Act. Section 3 of the Act provides for fixation of quota of production of sugar, which is permissible under this Act. The Central Government is empowered to fix such quota or quantity by making a written order by applying a prescribed formula. Such fixation of quantity is for the purpose of requiring a producer of sugar in the factory to produce such quantity of sugar in a given year. So far as the formula applicable for such fixation is concerned, the Central Government while establishing such formula is required to consider certain aspect including available sugar quantity in the year in the concerned territories and required sugar quantity for consumption and exporting in the same year and in the same territories. Also the Central Government is required to consider the working capacity of the sugar Factories wherefrom such sugar to be produced in that concerned year and all other relevant factors which are necessary for determining the quantity of the sugar which is required to be produced in the relevant year.

Further, section 4 of the Act makes provisions as to imposition and collection of special excise duty in relation to the production of sugar which in excess to the quantity so fixed by the Central Government by its order as aforesaid. Special excise duty, in other words are levied and collected in respect to the sugar produced additionally to the permissible quantity. Such special duty of excise should be at the rate similar to which is chargeable in relation to sugar within the provisions of the Central Excises Act, 1944 (Act no. 1 of 1944). The same special excise duty will be additional duty. Failure to pay such excise duties by the owner concerned within the required time, will entail against him a liability to pay for every 30 days of his continuing default a penalty which is maximum provided as 10 per cents of the duty which his outstanding against him and the same penalty should be adjudged in the similar manner in which a person held liable under the Act of 1944 or rules made under that Act.

Further, section 5 of the Act provides for provisions relating to delegation of powers by the directions of the Central Government to the officers or subordinate authorities concerned. Such delegation will be subject to such terms and conditions prescribed and should be notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette.

Moreover, the ending sections contain certain miscellaneous provisions in which section 6 of the Act provides for protections of actions of the Central Government or any officers thereof, which are taken under good faith and sought to be taken under the provisions of this Act. Such protections is provide against legal sanctions, suits, etc. The Central Government is further, empowered under section 7 of this Act, to make Rules which will for carrying out the provisions under this Act and there are certain matters enumerated under this provision on which the rules so made should make provision. Such rules are also required to publish in the official Gazette by Notification. Also in case of breach of any such rule, the provision under such rules should also provide for legal actions against violators thereof. Lastly, the Act under section 8 sought to repeal the Ordinance relating to this enactment, i.e. the Sugar (Regulation of Production) Ordinance, 1961, (Ord. no. 3 of 1961) without affecting the actions taken in pursuance thereof.

However, recently on November, 14th of the year 2014, by the fourth interim report being Report no. 251 titled as ‘Obsolete Laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal’, the 20th Law commission of India, sought repealing of the present Act, by mentioning ground as the Act has not been in use in the last few decades and the sugar factories are regulated through Orders under the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 also no operation is found as of Rules and orders made under this Act. However, repeal is recommended after satisfying on verification in respect of such operations. The recommendations were made in pursuance of its study on ‘Legal Enactments: Simplifications and Streamlining’.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.