The Tobacco Board Act, 1975

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The Act of Central Government legislation which was short tiled as ‘The Tobacco Board Act, 1975’ (Act no. 4 of 1975). The Act was enacted by the Indian Parliament in the 26th year of republic of India and assented by the President of India on 19th day of March, 1975. The Object and purposes for which the provisions thereof are provided is to develop the Tobacco industry under the control of Union of India. The provision of the Act was applied and extended to the entire Indian territories and were brought into operation on 1st day of January, 1976 by the Central Governments notification dated 17th of December, 1975, which was published in its Official Gazette. However, several provisions were given effect in the different States.

The First Chapter of the Act makes preliminary provisions under the Act, where the aforesaid short title, commencement, extension are discussed. Section 2 provides for declaration under the Act that, the Union is taking the control of Tobacco Industry as it is expedient in the interest of public to do so. Section 3 defines several terminologies under the Act.

Further the most important provisions are contemplated under next chapter i.e. Chapter II of the Act, dealing with the establishment of corporate body and naming the same as Tobacco Board by the Central Government by notifying in the Official Gazette. The Members which are to comprise the said Board have been enlisted under section 4(4) of the Act, which included, Central Government appointed Chairman and other members which are to be appointed from given sectors. Similarly, Vice-chairman is required to be appointed from such members of the Board. The provisions regarding service conditions, salary, etc. of such members have also been provided under this Act. Further, the Central Government is also required to appoint certain officers of the Board, including Executive Director, Secretary under section 6 of the Act. Section 7 thereof, requires appointment of necessary committees by the Board for discharging efficiently its duties and functions under this Act. Moreover, the another important provisions under the Chapter is section 8, where various functions of the Tobacco Board are specified. The basic function is relating to promotion of development of Tobacco industry as aforesaid and other functions includes, to regulate production and curing of Virginia Tobacco, to keep watch over Virginia tobacco Market, either inland or abroad, etc. Finally, the Act under this chapter, under section 9 makes provisions as to dissolution of said Board by the Central Government by notifying its directions to that effect in the Official Gazette.

Further, the Chapter III of the Act makes provisions as to production regulations and disposal of Virginia Tobacco. Section 10 wherein says that a person growing Virginia Tobacco should get himself registered with the Tobacco Board under this Act and after getting registration certificate, he can grow such tobacco as per terms and conditions thereof. While granting such registration certificate, the Board is required to consider the demand for such tobacco in India and other foreign countries and also consider that the land in relation thereto is suitable or not for concerned purpose. Even such Virginia Tobacco seedlings can be grown for the commercial purpose, if the persons concerned is having registration under this Act as grower being nursery grower. Further, the Act requires registration of curers of Virginia Tobacco. Also the persons processing or manufacturing Virginia tobacco or products thereof are also to be registered under this Act. Moreover, there should be licences for grading work or construction of barn, etc. under this Act. Also there are provisions as to registration of exporters, packers, and also platforms where sale auction of Virginia tobacco will be held.

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Next Chapter is making provisions as to fund, accounts and auditing thereof, of such Board. Section 16 thereof says that the Central Government can issue necessary grants or loans to the Board for utilising the same while dealing with the purpose of this Act. Taking such amount by way of grants or loans and other moneys by way of fees under this Act, or other monies received by the Board under this Act, the Board should constitute a Fund namely, Tobacco Fund, which is to utilized by it for the various purposes including to meet the expenditures of taking measures under the Act, to meet expenses on salaries, allowances, etc. of Officers and employees of the Board, and for other purposes provided. Besides, this the Board can borrow money. Section 19 requires accounting and auditing thereof by the Board.

Further, chapter V of the Act makes provisions where the Central Government can provide for its control over certain aspects. Section 20 provides for prohibiting and controlling by the Central Government the importation and exportation of Tobacco and products thereof and the contraventions thereof will entail liability to suffer imprisonment maximum 1 years or / and with fine, besides the punishment provided under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962. Further, section 20A says for authorization by the Central Government as to purchases of Virginia tobacco. Similarly, the Board is required to follow the necessary directions which are issued by the Central Government from time to time and should also furnish returns, reports, etc. concerned with such business of the Board, to the Central Government.

Lastly, the miscellaneous provisions are contained under chapter VI of the Act, where more specifically amongst the other provisions, the Act provides for penal provisions in respect of the offences under this Act and also provides for penalties thereof. The Act says that there should be a previous sanction of the Central Government before initiating any prosecution under this Act. Moreover, the Central Government, Board, etc. are given protection against legal actions in relation to their actions done in good faith, and in furtherance of the provisions of this Act. The Central Government is further, empowered to make rules under this Act and the Board is also empowered to provide for regulations on the given matters and in consonance with the provisions of this Act.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.