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Chemical weapons law to be given more teeth

Last Updated: Friday, April 16, 2010 - 15:22

New Delhi: To make the laws relating to trade in toxic chemicals more stringent, the government on Friday introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha to empower itself to regulate the production and transfer of such material and prevent them from falling into wrong hands.

The Chemical Weapons Convention (Amendment) Bill, 2010 will enable the government to appoint any of its officers as the authority to monitor and regulate production and transfer of those chemicals which could be used for `dirty` weapons.

The move will bring the Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000, in alignment with the international convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons.

The amendment bill was introduced in the House by Minister of State for Chemicals Shrikant Jena.

The law will, after the amendment, provide the Centre greater flexibility in appointment of enforcement officers and to fix a threshold limit for registration of chemicals by
persons engaged in their production.

The bill also sought changes in provisions of the Act, providing that no person should transfer toxic chemicals to or receive the same from citizens of nations which were not a
party to the convention.

The Act, which came into force in July 2005, provided for
registration of persons engaged in production, processing,
acquisition, consumption, transfer, import, export or use of
any toxic chemical or engaged in production of any discrete
organic chemical including those containing elements of
phosphorous, sulphur or fluorine. It also provided for
punishment for any infringement.

The existing provisions, however, did not specify any
threshold limit for registration of chemicals covered under
the convention, which the amendments sought to provide.

The bill sought to provide for a threshold to be
prescribed, a certification of registration granted, and for
person thus registered to furnish information, declaration and
return of their activities to the government.

It also sought to amend the prescribed punishment -- a
jail term of not less than one year to life imprisonment and a
fine of up to Rs 1 lakh -- in accordance with the amendments
being brought to the Act.


First Published: Friday, April 16, 2010 - 15:22
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