THE OPIUM ACT, 1857 

                                               (ACT NO. XIII OF 1857 )                                                 

Adapted and modified by the government of India

(Adaptation of Indian Laws )Order, 1937

Adapted and modified by the adaptation of Laws order, 1950

[received the assent of the Governor- General an the 6th June, 1857]

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the cultivation of

the poppy and the manufacture of opium *****

 

Preamble.-  Whereas the existing law relating to the cultivation of the poppy and the manufacture of opium on account of Government is in some respects inconsistent with the practice which now obtains under agreement between the Opium Agents and the cultivators and it sis expedient that such inconsistency should be removed:and whereas it is also expedient ***5  that the laws for preventing the illicit cultivation of the poppy, and for regulating the cultivation of the poppy and the manufacture of opium on account of government should be consolidated and amended;  

It is enacted as follows:  

 1 Short title and extent .- [ (1)  This Act may be called the opium Act , 1857.

(2) It extends to the whale of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. ]

 2. [Prohibition of poppy cultivation and opium manufacture ]Rep. by Act I of 1878 .

7[3. Appointment of officers to superintend provision of opium,- (1) The [Central Government]8 , after consideration of any recommendation made in this behalf by the [State Government ]9 of the [State]10  for which the appointment is to be made, may  appoint Opium Agents to superintend the provision of opium for [the Central Government ]11 .

(2) The [Central Government ]8 may appoint officers to assist the Opium Agents, under the designation of deputy Agents, district Opium Officers, Assistant Opium Officer or such other designations as [it]12 may think fit, and may delegate to the opium agents the power of appointing all or any of such officers.

(3) Unless the [Central Government ]13  after consideration of any recommendation made by the [State government]11 in this befall ,otherwise directs, the Collector shall be deputy Agent for his district.

(4) The [Central Government]13 may by rule prescribe the powers and duties of officers appointed under this section] .

 Rep. by Act XII of 1873.

Rep. by Act I of 1938.

The amendments made by this Act were rep. by Act XXVII of 1925

The words [in the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal [omit. by s. 2(2) of Act XXXIII of 1950.

The words [and the territories under the administration of the Chief Commissioner of Oudh] deemed to have been ins. Such .II of Act XVIII of 1876 infra..

The words [that certain obsolete Regs. Relating to the provision of opium should be formally rep. and] rep. by Act XII of 1891.

 

Section I re-ins. By s. 2 (2) and such .of Act XXXIII of 1950 earlier rep,by Act XIV of 1870

  4. Officers amenable to civil Courts. -  The Opium Agents, and their subordinate officers of every description are declared amenable to the civil Courts for all acts done by them n their official capacity except as otherwise herein provided.

Bar of suit without previous application to Agent for redress.-  But no suit shall be instituted against an Agent, or any subordinate officer, for any act done in his official capacity, unless the person who shall consider, himself aggrieved by the act of such Agent or officer shall have first made application for redress to the Agent himself

 In the event of such person not being satisfied with the order which the Agent may pass upon his application, it shall then be competent to him either to lay his case by petition before [the Central Government]15, or at once to seek redress in the Civil courts.

 5. Sanction to suit by Agent. – The Opium Agents shall not in their official capacity institute any suit in a Civil Court without the previous sanction of [the Central government] 15

 16[6. Power of Central government to appoint officer to conduct suits. – 17[The Central Government] may take upon itself, or entrust to an officer specially appointed for the purpose, the superintendence of the prosecution or defiance of any suit or appeal in which 17[the Central Government ] or any agent, or any other officer subordinate to 17[the Central Government ], may be engaged, instead of leaving such superintendence to the Agent or any other  officer,

7. Board to fix limits of cultivation and price to be paid to cultivations.- 18***

18a[ The Central Government ] shall from time to time fix the limits within which licenses may be given for the cultivations of the poppy on account of 18a [the Central Government].

19[The Central Government] shall from time to time fix the price to be paid to have cultivators for the opium produced.

   The price shall be fixed at a certain sum per seer of eighty tolas for opium of a certain standard consistence, and shall be subject to a dateable reduction according to a scale sanctioned by 20[the Central Government] for opium of a consistence below the standard.

 8. Issue of licenses.- The 21[District, opium officers], or other officers entrusted with the superintendence of the cultivation , shall, at the proper period of the year, issue licenses to the cultivators, who may choose to

 Subs. by Act XXVII of 1925, S.2 and Sch.

Subs .for [g.G.in c.] by the A.O. 1937.

Subs. by the A.O. 1950 for [Provl. Govt.] Which had been subs. by the A.O. 1937 for [L.G.].

Subs. for [Province] by the A.O. 1950.

Subs. for [Govt.] by the A.O.1937.

Subs. for [he] by ibid.

Subs. For [G.G.in C.] by the A.O. 1937.

Subs. by the A.O. 1950 for [Provl..Govt] which had been subs. by the A.O. 1937 for [L.G.]

 engage to cultivate the poppy, and to deliver the produce to the officers of 22[the Central Government ] at the established rates.

What to be specified in licence. – Every licence shall specify the number of bighas which the party engages and is unauthorized to cultivate, and shall be in such form as the Agent, with the sanction of 20[the Central Government] may direct:

A counterpart- engagement , in conformity with the tenor of the lscence, shall be taken from the cultivator.   

 

9. Cultivator to have option to engage to cultivate or not officers compelling cultivator to engage liable to be dismissed.- It shall be at the option of every cultivator to enter into engagements for the cultivation of the poppy or not as he may think fit; and any [district Opium Officer]23 or other officer as aforesaid, or any inferior officer employed in the provision of opium, who shall compel, or use any means to compel, any cultivator to enter into engagements, or to receive advances, for the cultivation of the poppy. Shall be liable to be dismissed form his situation.

District Opium Officer may withhold licence to cultivate. –

It shall be at the option f the 23 [District Opium Officer] or other officer as aforesaid, to withhold a licence from any cultivator whenever he may think proper so to do.

Appeal .- Any person to whom a licence has been refused may appeal to the Agent, and the decision of the Agent shall be final.

 

10. Penalty on cultivator receiving advances and not cultivating full quantity of land. Adjudication of penalty.- If it shall be found that any cultivator ,who has received advances form 24[ Government], has not cultivated the full quantity of land for which he received such advances, he shall be liable to a penalty of three times the amount of the advance received for the land which he has failed to cultivate; and the said penalty may be adjudged by the deputy Agent or collector on the Complaint of the 25[District Opium Officer] or other officer as aforesaid ,

Appeal.- Any person dissatisfied with  the judgment of the  Deputy Agent or Collector  may appeal to the Agent, and the decision of the Agent shall be final.

 

11. Delivery of the opium produced.  All opium, the produce of land cultivated with poppy on account of 26[the Central Government] shall be delivered by the cultivators to the [District Opium Officers]25 or[ other officer duly authorized to receive such opium]27, or shall be brought by them to the sadr factory, as the Agent may direct.

Opium not liable to distress or attachment. Value thereof may be attached,-  Ant no

such opium shall be liable to be distrained or attached  

Subs. by the A.O. 1937 for [Govt.] which had been subs. for [the board of revenue] by S. 2. And Sch of Act XXVII of 1925

Subs. by ibid.

Subs. for [govt.] by the A.O. 1937.

The words [The Board of Revenue with the sanction of ] rep. by Act. XXVII of 1925, S.2 and Sch.

Subs.for [Govt.] by the A.O. 1937.  

Subs. by the A.O.1937 for [Govt.] which had been subs. for [with the like sanction they] by Act XXVII of 1925 S.2 and Sch

Subs. by the A.O. 1937 for [Govt.] which had been subs. for the [Board of Revenue [by S.2 and Sch. Of Act XXVII of 1925

Subs for [Sub-Deputy Agents ]by ibid.  

By a zamindar or other proprietor, or a farmer of land, for the recovery of arrears of rent, or by any other creditor of a cultivator under any order or decree of Court but the sum due to the cultivator on account of such opium may be attached by order of Court in the hands of the Agent or 28[ other] officer under the rules in force for such attachments.

 12. Opium to be weighed and classified by District Opium Officer.- All opium delivered by the cultivators to the 29[District Opium Officer] or 30[other Officer authorized as aforesaid ] shall, before it is for- warded to the sadar factory, be weighed, examined and classified according to its quality and consistence by that behalf, in the presence of the cultivators and in conformity with rules sanctioned by 31[the central Government ].

Proceeding where cultivator is dissatisfied with classification- Any  cultivator, who may be dissatisfied with the classification of the [receiving Officer]32, shall be at liberty either to take his opium to the sadar factory, or to have it forwarded either by such officer separate from the opium respecting which no dispute has arisen.

 13. Weighing and examination at sadr factory.- All opium forwarded by the 33[receiving] officers to the sadr factory, and all opium delivered at the sadr factory by the cultivators, shall be there weighed and examined by the Opium Examiner, or other officer duly authorized in that the quality and consistence of the opium , and the deductions from, or additions (if any), to the standard price to be made in accordance with the said rules, shall be determined by the result of such examination .

The decision of the Examiner, or of the Agent in cases in which a reference to the Agent may  be prescribed by the said rules, shall be final and conclusive, and not open to question in any court.

 14. Confiscation of adulterated opium. – When opium delivered by a cultivator, either to a 34[ receiving] officer, or at the sadr factory, is suspected of being adulterated with any foreign substance, it shall be immediately sealed up pending examination by the Opium Examiner, and notice of such intended examination shall be given to the cultivator

 Adjudication of confiscation.- If  upon such examination the opium shall be found to be so adulterated, the Agent on the report of the Examiner may order that it be confiscated; and the order of the Agent shall be final and not open to questioning any court.

 15 Weights and scales.- Weights and scales made use of in the sadr factories, and at the district kiths , shall be provided by 35[the Central Government ].

 Subs.for [Govt.] by the A.O. 1937

Subs.for [Sub-Deputy Agent] by Act XXVII of 1925, S.2.and Sch.

Subs. by the A.O. 1950 for [the Crown] which had been subs, by the A.O. 1937 for [Govt.].

Subs. for [Sub-Deputy Agents] by Act XXVII of 1925, S.2. and Sch

Subs.for [Govt.] by the A.O. 1937.

Subs.for [other districts officers] by ibid.  

 Examination thereof.-  Every [District Opium  Officer ]36 shall annually, before beginning to weigh the opium of the season, examine the weights and scales in use in his district and shall report the result of such examination to the Agent

The Agent shall made a similar examination of the weights and scales of the sadr factory, and shall report the result to [ the Central government]37

No weights or scales shill be made use of whish on any such examination have not been found to be strictly accurate.

It shall be the duty of all officers, who may superintend the weighing of opium , to see that the opium is weighed fairly with an even beam, and the practice of taking excess weight for the purpose of turning the scale, or as an allowance for drayage and wastage, is hereby prohibited.

16. Adjustment of cultivators account and recovery of balance by distress.  

The accounts  of the cultivators shall be adjusted annually by the [District Opium Officers or other officers duly authorized in this  behalf]38 as soon after the conclusion of the weighing and examination as possible; and any balance that may remain due from any cultivator, or from any mahto or intermediate manager, may be recovered by the [adjusting officer]36 by distress and sale of the property of the defaulter  or of his surety, in the same manner and under the same rules as the property of defaulting cultivators in estates held khas may be distrained and sold by the collector for the recovery of an arrear of rent or revenue  

Sanction to issue of warrant.-Provided that no warrant of distress and sale shall be issued by any [adjusting officer]39 without the sanction of the Agent previously obtained   

 

17. Penalty on officer taking bribes.-  Any officer of the Opium  Department who shall receive any fee, gratuity, perquisite, or allowance, either in money or effects, under any pretence whatsoever from any cultivator  or from any other person employed or concerned in the provision of opium, other then the authorized allowances of his situation, shall be dismissed from his office and , on conviction before a Magistrate, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred rupees.

 18. Exactions by landholder from raiyat recoverable, together with penalty , in  suit before Collector. If any zamindar , or other proprietor of land or any farmer of land , shall exact from any raiyat, on account  of his poppy land any illegal case or any  higher rate of rent than he is lawfully entitled to demand ,the raiyat or the 40[District Opium Officer ] or 41[ other officer duly authorized in this behalf] may institute a suit before the collector and recover from such proprietor or farmer the sum exacted by him in excess of his lawful demand, together with a penalty of treble the amount of such excess; and such suit shall be tied according to the rule   

 Sub. for [of the district] by ibid.

Subs.for [Sub-Deputy Agent] by ibid.             

Subs.for [other district officer] by ibid.

Subs. by the A.O. 1937 for [Govt.] which had been subs. for [the Board of Revnue] by Act XXVII of 1925 ,s.2 and Sch.

Subs. for [district officer ]by Act XXVII of 1925, S.2 and Sch.

Subs.for [district]by ibid.

Subs. for [district ] by Act XXVII of 1925. S.2 and Sch

Subs .by the A.O.1937 for [Govt.] which had been subs. for [the Board of Revenue by Act. XXVII of 1925 , S.2 and Sch  

Prescribed for suits Instituted before a Collector relating to arrears or exactions of rent.

 19. Penalty for embezzlement of opium by cultivator.- Any cultivator entering into engagements for the cultivation of the poppy on account of [the Central Government]42 who may embezzle, or otherwise illegally dispose of , any part of the opium  produced shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding ten times the fixed price of the opium which he may be proved to have so disposed of or to a fine not exceeding five hundred repels, if found, shall be liable to confiscation.

 20 Penalty for illegal purchase of opium from cultivators and for illegal connivance at embezzlement by Opium Officer.  Any  person purchasing or receiving any opium form a cultivator or other person who may have entered into engagements for the cultivation of the poppy, or who may be employed in  the provision of opium on account of [the central Government]42 , or bargaining for the purchase of opium with such cultivator or person, or in any way causing or encouraging such cultivator or person to embezzle or illegally dispose of any opium, and any officer of the Opium Department conniving in any way at the embezzlement or illegal disposal of any opium, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees ,unless the opium purchased, bargained for , or illegally disposed of, shall exceed the weight of thirty  one seers and a quarter in which case the fine may be increased, at a rate not exceeding thirty two rupees per seer for all such opium in excess of that weight; and the opium if found, shall be liable to confiscation.

 21. Penalty for unlicensed cultivation,- Any person who shall cultivate the poppy without licence from a [district Opium Officer]43 or other officer duly authorized in that behalf , and any person who shall in any way cause, encourage, or promote such illegal cultivation shall be liable to a fine  not exceeding five hundred rupees, unless the quantity of land so illegally cultivated shall exceed twenty bighas, in which case the fine may be at the rate of twenty –five rupees per bigha;  and the poppy plants shall  be destroyed, or , if any opium have been extracted from them ,it  shall be seized and confiscated  

 If the opium shall have been extracted and shall not be seized, the offender shall be liable to a further fine not exceeding the rate of thirty –two rupees per bigha of land illegally cultivated.

 44[21-A. power of certain officers of the Excise Department to investigate into offences punishable under this Act.  – Any officer of the Excise Department of the State Government, not below such rank as that Government may by notification in the Gazette specify, may investigate into any offence punishable under this Act if committed within the area of his jurisdiction, and shall in respect of such investigation, have all the powers exercisable by an officer in charge of police station in his behalf under Chapter XIV of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898]

Subs.for [district officer ]by ibid.

Subs. by the A.O.1937 for [Govt,]which had been subs. for [the board by Act XXVII of 1925 ,S.2 and Sch.

Subs. for [district officer] by Act XXVII of 1925, S.2 and Sch.

Subs.for the [district officer]by Act XXVII of 1925, S.2 and Sch

Subs. for [Sub-Deputy agent] by ibid.

Subs. for [other district officer on his behalf] by ibid  

22. Duty of landholders and others to give information of illegal cultivation.- All proprietors, farmers, topsiders, gumahstas, and other mangers of land shall give immediate information to the police or abkari dagogas, or opium gumshoes, or to the Magistrates, Collectors or officers in charge of the abkari mahal, or to the Agents , their deputies, or 45[ the District Opium Officers], of all poppy which may be illegally cultivated within the estates or farms held or managed by them; and every proprietor , farmer, tahsildar, gumashta, or other manger of land who shall knowingly neglect  to give such information shall be liable to the penalities for illegal cultivation prescribed in the last preceding section,

 23 Duty of police and other officers to give information of illegal cultivation. – All police and abkari darogas and opium gumasthas, and all [*] 46 officer of the [Government ]47 of whatever description and allchaukidars, paikas,and other village police officers, shall give immediate information to the authority to which they are subordinate when it may come to their knowledge that any land has been illegally cultivated with poppy; and such authority shall transmit the information to the 47a[District Opium Officer ]or other officer superintending the cultivation of the poppy, if in a district where the poppy is cultivated on account of 48[the central Government], or to the Collector or officer in charge of the abkari mahal, if in a district where the poppy is not so cultivated.

    Every police or abkari daroga, opium gumashta, 46[*] officer, chaukidar or other police officer as aforesaid who shall neglect to give such information, or shall in any respect connive at the illicit cultivation of the poppy shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees if the offender be an officer of the Opium Department or in any other case to fine not exceeding five hundred rupees.  

 24 Police of abkari daroga how to proceed in case of illegal cultivation .- Whenever a police or  abkari daroga or opium gumashta shall receive intelligence of any land within his jurisdiction having been illegally cultivated with poppy, he shall immediately proceed to the spot and if the information be correct, shill attach the crop so illegally cultivated and report the same without delay to the authority to which he may be subordinate.

 He shall at the same time take security from the cultivator of the said land for his appearance before the Magistrate; and in the event of such cultivator not giving the required security he shall send him in custody to the magistrate.

 25. Landholders, etc may attach in cases of illegal cultivation .- Proprietors farmers, tahsidars, gumashtas and other mangers   of land shall be at liberty to attach any poppy grown in opposition to the provision of this Act in any estate or farm held or managed by them, and shall immediately report such attachment to the nearest police or abkari   

 Subs. for [Govt.] by A.O. 1937

Subs. for [Sub –Deputy Agent] by Act, XXVII of 1925 S.2 and Sch.

Ins by U.P. Act XIII of 1963

daroga or opium gumashta, who shall thereupon proceed in conformity with the rules contained in the last preceding section. 

 26. Adjudication of penalties.- Except as otherwise herein provided all fines, penalties, and confiscations prescribed by this Act shall be adjudged by the Magistrate on the information of the Deputy Agent or 49[District Opium Officer ]in districts in which the poppy is cultivated on account of 50[the Central Government], and in other districts on the information of the Collector or officer in charge of the abkari mahal.          

 Limitation;- Provided that no information or an offence against this Act shall be admitted unless it be preferred within the period of one year after the commission of the offence to which the information refers.

  27. Imprisonment in default of payment of fine.- When  any person is sentenced to pay any fine for penalty under this Act, such person, in default of payment  of the same, may be imprisoned by order of the Magistrate for any time not exceeding six months, or until the fine is sooner paid

 28. Punishment for repetition of offences.- Whenever any person shall be convicted of an offence against this Act after having been previously convicted of a like offence, he shall be liable, in addition to the penalty attached to such offence to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months; and a like punishment of imprisonment not exceeding six months shall be incurred, in addition to the punishment which may be infected for a first offence, upon every subsequent  conviction after the second.  

 29. Place of imprisonment under Section 28.-Every person who shall be imprisoned under the last proceeding section, or on account of the non- payment of any fine or penalty prescribed by this Act, unless such person be an officer of the 51[Government ] or a village police officer convicted of an offence under Section 17,20,or 23 shall be imprisoned in the civil jail

 30. Disposal of fines and forfeitures.- One –half of all fines and penalties levied from persons convicted of offences under Sections 19,20 and 21 of this Act, together with a reward of one rupee eight annas for each seer of opium confiscated and declared by the Civil Surgeon to be fit for use shall upon adjudication of the case be awarded to the officer of officers who apprehended the offender, and the other half of such fines and forfeitures, together with a reward of one rupee eight annas for each seer of opium confiscated as aforesaid, shall be given to the informer   

If in any case the fine or penalty is not realized, the [Opium Agent]52 may grant such reasonable reward, not exceeding the sum of two hundred rupees, as may seem to [him]53 fit.  

 Subs, for [Sub-Deputies] by ibid.

The work [native] omit. By A.O. 1950.

Subs. by the A.O. 1950 for the [Crown which had been subs. by the A.O. 1937 for [Govt].

Subs. for [Govt.] by A.O. 1937

 31. The Central Government may allow free cultivation of poppy and without licence from  a [District Opium Officer]56 or other officer [of the manufacture of opium in any district.- The [Central Government ]54 may authorize, by an order ***55,  the cultivation of the poppy and the manufacture of opium in any district or districts Government ]57; and when such order has been published all the provisions , of this Act shall cease to have effect in such district or districts: 

Power to prescribe rules for delivery to Government officers. –Provided always that [the Central Government]58 may prescribe rules for the delivery of the opium so produced to officers [of the Government]57 appointed to receive it; and when such rules have been passed, any cultivator or other person engaged in the cultivation of the poppy and manufacture of opium who shall dispose of any opium otherwise than is allowed by such rules, and any person who shall purchase or receive any such opium in contravention of the said rules, shall be subject to the penalties prescribed 8in section 19 of this Act; and such penalties may be adjudged by a Magistrate on the information of any officer [of the Government ]57 or of any other person .

 

THE SCHEDULE

(See Section2)

AMENDMENT

 

 
   

 

               Sl.

               No.               Short title                                           Amendments

 

 
   

 

                 1                              2                                                          3

 

 
   



1 The Opium Act, After Section 31, the following section shall be  1857 (13 of 1857). Inserted, namely:-59[32. Publication and laying of rules.-(1) Every rule required to be prescribed or sanc5ioned by the Central Government shall be prescribed or sanctioned by that government by notification in the Official Gazette.

(2) Every rule prescribed or sanctioned by the central Government under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is prescribed or sanctioned, before each House of parliament while it is in session, for a total period of thirty  days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions and if

Subs for [Sub-Deputy Agent] by Act XXVII of 1925 and Sch.

Subs. for [Govt.]by the A.O. 1937.

Subs. by the A.O. 1950 for [the crown] which had been subs by the A.O. 1937for [Govt.]

Subs. for [Board of Revenue] by Act XXVII of 1925, S.2 and Sch

Subs. for [them] by ibid.

                                                                         

 
   

 

                 1                 2                                              3

 

 
   

 

before the expiry of the session immediately

following the session, or the successive sessions

aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any

modification in the rule or both Houses agree

that the rule should not have effect, the rule

shall thereafter have effect only in such

modified form or be of no effect, as the case

may be; so, however, that any such modification

or annulment shall be without prejudice

to the validity of anything previously done

under that rule

Subs. for [G.G.of I. in C.] by the A.O. 1937.

The words [of Govt.]Omit by ibid.

Subs. for [Sub-Deputy Opium Agent] by Act XXVII of 1925, S.2. and Sch

Subs. by the A.O. 1950 for [of the Crown] which had been subs. by the A.O. 1937 for [of Govt.].

Subs. for [the govt.] by the A.O. 1937.

S, 32 which was add. By Act XXVII of 1925, S.2 and Sch, read as follows:-

“In this Act, except in S.23, where the word occurs for the first time, and in S. 29 [Govt.] means the [Govt.of I]”

Which is repealed. By A.O. 1937 and again inserted by Act no. 20 of 1983.