An excise duty is a tax paid on locally manufactured items. It is a tax placed on the manufacture or sale of a product. The Rajasthan Excise Act, 1950, (‘The Act’) governs the entire state of Rajasthan. In this article, we will have a look at the various provisions of the Act. They are as follows:
- Chapter I: Preliminary
- Chapter II: Control & Establishment
- Chapter III: Import, Export, & Transport
- Chapter IV: Manufacture, Possession and Sale
- Chapter V: Duties and Fees
- Chapter VI: Licences, Permits and Passes
- Chapter VII: General Provisions
- Chapter VIII: Powers and Duties of Officers
- Chapter IX: Offences and Penalties
- Chapter X: Miscellaneous
CHAPTER I: PRELIMINARY
Section 3 of Chapter, I of the act gives out various definitions of terms such as “Excisable Article”, “Excise Duty”, “Excise Revenue” etc. For instance, the Excisable Article under the actincludes any alcoholic liquor for humanconsumption, intoxicating drug, Stills or other appliances for distillation, Fermented wash, Heritage Liquor, or any other article declared by the State government from time to time.
Under Section 4, the act has bifurcated liquor into two types: Country Liquor and Foreign Liquor. Furthermore, under Section 5 of the Act, the State Government of Rajasthan has the power to declarea limit of sale by retail in terms of the quantity of the excisable article.
CHAPTER II: CONTROL & ESTABLISHMENT
Under section 8, the Excise commissioner has been declared as the in charge of the Excise Department. Section 9 gives the Rajasthan Government, the power to appoint Excise Commissioners, and Officers. They are also allowed to delegate powers to the Excise Commissioners, except in cases of rule-making.
Furthermore, the orders passed by the Excise Officers and Excise Commissioner can be appealed upon or revised against, by the Excise Commissioner, and Division Bench of the Board of Revenue, respectively. This must be done within 60 days following the order, and only if adequate proof of payment of 75% of the amount of the demand created by the appealed order is provided. Civil courts do not have jurisdiction over such appeals/revisions.
CHAPTER III: IMPORT, EXPORT AND TRANSPORT
For any import, export, and transport of an excisable article, it is mandatory to have the permission of the State Government and pay off any duty (if imposed) under Section 28 of the Act.Such permissions will be granted via the issuance of passes under Section 15 of the act. However, the State Government has the power to prohibit, import, export and transport excisable articles upon notification.
CHAPTER IV: MANUFACTURE, POSSESSION AND SALE
Under section 16 of the act, the manufacturing of the following is prohibited: hemp plant, bottled-up liquors, Tari etc. Furthermore, no distillery, brewery or pot-still shall be constructed or worked except under the authority and subject to the terms and conditions of a licence granted on that behalf by the Excise Commissioner.
To establish distilleries, and warehouses, it is mandatory to acquire a license under this act, and any duty (if payable) should be paid.Furthermore, under sections 19-22 of the act, any person who is not licenced to manufacture, cultivate, gather, or sell any excisable article shall have a limitedquantity of possession forsuch article, specified by the State Government. To hold anything beyond the limit, they must have express permission from the State Government.
Section 23 makes it illegal to employ anyone under the age of 18 or anyone suffering from an infectious disease in any part of the premises where such liquor or spirit is consumed by the general public.
CHAPTER V: DUTIES AND FEES
According to section 28 of the act, any duty may be imposed – in any manner at varied rates depending on the locations to which any excisable object or intoxicating substance is to be removed for consumption or the varying strength and quality of such product. In case, there is a failure to pay the duty, there will be an amount of 2% per month upon the duty as an interest. However, the Excise commissioner has the power to waive off such interests on a case-to-case basis.
CHAPTER VI: LICENCES, PERMITS AND PASSES
The State Government may issue Licences if they execute a counterpart agreement following the terms of the licence and provide such security for the performance of such agreement or make such deposit instead of security as the authority deems appropriate.
Furthermore, they have the power to cancel such licenses if:
- It has been sub-let without due permission;
- The duty has not been paid off;
- There has been a breach concerning the conditions laid down under this act;
- The holder has been convinced under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 or Sections 482-489 of the Indian Penal Code.
Additionally, such cancelled Licences cannot be renewed upon general requests. However, Licences cannot be cancelled if they are irregular due to a technical fault such as an omission in the details.
CHAPTER VII: GENERAL PROVISIONS
Under Section 39 of the act, it is mandatory to retain, & preserve equipment for Measures, weights and testing of the excisable articles. Furthermore, the act prescribes certain special modes of recovery for excise revenue if there is a default, and such persons shall be liable to the State Government.
Section 41 of the act describes and elaborates upon the rule-making powers of the State Government. These include but are not limited to:
- Regulating the delegation of the powers by the Excise Commissioner;
- Prescribing the powers and duties of officers of the Excise Department;
- Prescribing the procedure to be followed and the matters to be ascertained before any licence for such vend is granted for any locality;
- Prohibiting the printing, publishing or otherwise displaying or distributing any advertisement or other matter commending or soliciting the use of, or offering any intoxicant etc.
Section 42 provides for the powers of the Excise Commissioner, subject to Section 41 sanctions of the State Government.
CHAPTER VIII: POWERS AND DUTIES OF OFFICERS
The Excise officers have the power to enter and inspect any place of manufacturing, and sale of such excisable articles during the permitted working hours of such establishments. These may include examining any book, account or register or any other equipment. They can also investigate any offences under the act, as per the provisions of Chapter XII of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. They have the authority to seize, arrest, and detain any excisable article or another article that they have cause to suspect is liable to confiscation under this Act if they find any person committing an offence punishable under this Act. Sections 46, 54, & 56 of the Criminal Procedure Code can be invoked to follow dueprocess in such cases for arrests, search, and granting bail.
The Excise Commissioner or the Magistrate has the power to issue a warrant for such search and arrest. Furthermore, excise officers may exercise such powers without a warrant, provided that such officer records the basis for their belief before entering a such site. It is also mandatory to report such incidents to the Excise Department.
Section 53 provides that the District Magistrate, by written notice to the Licensee, may order that any store in which any excisable or intoxicating drug is supplied be closed at such times or for such term as he deems essential for the preservation of public peace.
CHAPTER IX: OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
Under the act, anyone who illegally imports, exports, transports, etc. such excisable commodities faces imprisonment for up to three years and a fine of upto Rs. 20,000. In circumstances where you are only a subordinate to someone while committing such offences, you face up to 6 months in prison and a fine of upto Rs. 200.
In certain cases where the quantity of liquor found at the time or during the process of the discovery of the offence exceeds 50 bulk litres, the person guilty of such offence faces a minimum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of upto Rs. 10,000.
CHAPTER X: MISCELLANEOUS
Unless the government directs otherwise by notice in the Official Gazette, the aforementioned provisions of this Act do not apply to medical professionals, pharmacists, druggists, apothecaries, or store owners who import, manufacture, possess, sell, or supply any legitimately medicated article for medicinal purposes.
No lawsuit, prosecution, or other legal action may be launched against the State Government, any officer, or any individual for anything done or intended to be done in good faith per this Act, according to section 73 of the act.
To sell excisable articles in India, a licence is required. As a result, to sell such items, the seller must obtain a licence, otherwise selling them is illegal and forbidden until an application for a licence is received.
Since excisable articlesare usually connected with criminal and violent behaviour, state governments find it difficult to address it. State governments issue Licences to oversee and control the creation, manufacture, and sale of alcohol and other intoxicants.
Additionally, each state government governs the sale and use of alcohol inside its borders, each state has its own set of liquor regulations that must be followed precisely beforeapplying for a liquor licence. Furthermore, it is required by state law to get a valid licence to engage in the manufacturing, import, export, transit, possession, purchase, or sale of such excisable articles.