Giving teeth to the Excise law, the Amendment Bill to the Assam Excise Act, 2000 was passed by the Assam Legislative Assembly during the ongoing Budget Session of the Assembly on Wednesday.
A number of sections Assam Excise Act, 2000 have been amended.
As per information, Section 2 of the Act 2000 has been amended to define public place while Section 36 has been amended to define a clear procedure for recovery of dues from the defaulters of excise revenue.
While the Section 53 (1), 54 & 55, which were bailable Sections earlier, have been made non- bailable and all other bailable Sections have been made bailable as per CrPC , 1973.
Section 53(1) deals with the matter relating to penalty for unlawful import, export, transport manufacture, possession, sale etc. Provision for penalty under Section 53(1) has been made more stringent and made punishable for a term up to three years and with fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
On the other hand, Section 54 deals with unlawful possession in certain cases such as duty evaded intoxicants, etc. Penalty provisions for punishment under section 54 made punishable with imprisonment for a term up to three years and with fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
Section 55 deals with penalty for altering or attempting to alter any denatured spirit that may be used for human consumption. Penalty provision under Section 55 made punishable with imprisonment for a term up to five years and with fine up to Rs 2 lakh.
Section 58 of the Act deals with penalty for breach of conditions of licence, etc. Provision for penalty under Section 58 has been made more stringent.
Fine for breach of section 58(a) has been enhanced up to Rs 50,000 while fine for breach of Section 58(b) has enhanced up to Rs 5 lakh.
Section 58 –A deals with penalty for non-payment of duty or fee which has been newly inserted making the offence for non-payment of duty or fee punishable with imprisonment for a term up to three years and with fine up to 300 pc of the duty, fee or other levies due from the licence holders.
Two new sections namely Section 61 – A and Section 61- B have been inserted making the consumption of alcohol in a public place punishable with fine up to rupees fifty thousand or/and imprisonment up to six months.
A new Section – 64-A – has also been inserted to make provision to try offences and making punishment provisions for offences by companies.
The Section 76 of the Act has been amended to rationalise the power to compound the bailable offences under the Act and to introduce procedure for seizure of vehicles etc. Also in case the licence holder commits the same offence for the second time, his compounding fee will be double of the amount paid for his same offence committed earlier.
While introducing the Bill in the State Assembly on February 6, 2018, Assam Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya had said that the punishment provisions for certain offences under the existing Assam Excise Act, 2000, were not adequate. Stating that Illicit liquor and non-duty paid liquor have been posing threat to human life and the state exchequer, the Excise Minister had stated that to curb such offences, there was the need to provide stringent punishment to the offenders.