Poisons Act, 1952

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Poisons Act, 1952 an Act which controls the import, possession and sale of poisons in the country. It was originally enacted by the Government of India in 1919 as Poisons Act, 1919 to regulate the import, possession and sale of poisons in India. The Act was later on amended to suit the changed circumstances and adopted by the Pakistan Government in 1952 as Poisons Act, 1952. After liberation, the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh amended the Act accordingly and adopted it to regulate the import, possession, use and sale of poisons in Bangladesh.

For the purpose of the Act, all substances, that cause death or fatally affect the animal systems, if ingested even in smaller doses, and those substances which are specified as poisons in notifications issued under the Act, are designated as 'Poisons'. Poisons under the Act are classified into two groups:

Group I In this group are included those poisons that are used in the treatment of human diseases. These poisons can be prescribed only by the registered physicians and sold only by the licensed sellers.

Group II This group includes those poisonous substances which are used both in the treatment of human diseases, and as antiseptics and pesticides (such as insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc). These are sold by both licensed and unlicensed sellers.

The Rules under the Poisons Act have been divided into 17 Schedules for the purpose of regulating the various affairs of the poisons. The provisions of the Act are in addition to the rules which have been made for the dispensing and sale of poisons under the Drugs Act, 1940.

The import of poisons into Bangladesh is permitted only under the authority of a licence granted for the purpose by the relevant authority of the Government. Persons licensed to import poisons have to bring them into the country across one of the defined customs frontiers in accordance with the conditions of the licence.

The Government, by making rules, regulates the possession and sale of poisons, whether wholesale or retail. Rules under the Act provide for the grant of licences for the possession and sale of any specified class of poisons. The rules also specify the classes of persons to whom the licences for the possession and sale of poisons are to be granted, the categories of persons to whom the poisons may be sold, maximum quantity of any one poison that may be sold to a person, and provide for the maintenance of a Register for the sale of poisons by the persons who have been licensed to sell them. Rules are also specified for the safe custody of poisons and labelling of the containers, coverings, etc. in which the poisons are stored or sold.

Violators of any of the provisions of the Act are liable to punishment with imprisonment up to 3 months or to a fine up to Tk 500 or both on first conviction, and with imprisonment up to 6 months or a fine up to Tk 1,000 or both on any subsequent convictions.

Any poison, in respect of which an offence has been committed, is liable to confiscation together with all related materials. However, nothing in the Act applies to anything used or done in good faith, in the exercise of their profession, by medical or veterinary practitioners. [Abdul Ghani]

See also drug; insecticide; poisonous plant.