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Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005  

April 22, 2022

By Rupin Chopra and Apalka Bareja

In this day and age, when one contemplates their hierarchy of needs (how Maslow envisaged originally), security would perhaps be one factor which should now figure on the way to self-actualization. Security, especially of the physical type, from physical harm. As such, it is no wonder that there are innumerable private security providers in the world.

The Private Securities Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005 is a legislation for the regulation of Private Security Agencies. Private Security Agencies can be described as a person, a body of person or an organization or department other than a government agency which is engaged in the business of providing private security guards with private security services which includes training as well. Such security agencies cannot commence business in India without obtaining registration under the Act.

Under the Act, a controlling authority must be appointed by the State Government. Such an officer, must not be below the rank of a Joint Secretary in the Home Department of the State or equivalent to the said position.

The Controlling authority would be in charge of regulating and keeping a check on the affairs of the Private Security Agencies along with the responsibility of grant, renewal, inspection or cancellation of license of the Private Security Agencies. The process for all these regulations has been provided in the Act

Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005

Application Process[1]

The Application process is fairly simple and straightforward. The Act provides that an application for the grant of license has to be made to the Controlling Authority. The applicant (the private security agency) has to submit an affidavit with the application, proving their eligibility. Further, the Applicant must not fall under the provisions mentioned under Section 6 of the Act, which specifies certain conditions barring a person/ applicant from being eligible to obtain a license.

Providing training of private security guards is an important condition under this Act and therefore the Agency must also ensure the availability of training facilities for its private security guards as well as supervisors. The application has to be accompanied by a fee depending upon the number of districts the private security agency is functioning in. The Controlling Authority on the receipt of such application may make any enquiries that it may deem necessary and after obtaining a no objection certificate from the concerned police authority within a period of sixty days from date of receipt of application, either grant or refuse to grant a license by an order in writing. In case of refusal of license, the Act specifies that an order for refusal shall not be made unless and until the applicant has been given a reasonable opportunity to be heard and the grounds on which the license is refused is mentioned in the order provided by the Controlling Authority.

The applicable fee is enumerated in Section 7 of the Act.

Validity of the license provided

As per Section 7 of the Act, the license is valid for a period of five (5) years.

A private security agency shall commence its activities within six months of obtaining the license.

Renewal of License[2]

The Act stipulates that an application for renewal of license should be made in not less than forty-five days before the expiry of the validity period of such license. The application for renewal has to be made to the Controlling Authority along with the documents required at the time of application, along with paying the requisite fee. Thereafter an order of renewal shall be passed by the Controlling Authority within thirty days from the date of receipt of the renewal application. However, as is enumerated in section 8 of the Act, the Controlling authority reserves the right refuse such application, after providing fair opportunity to the Applicant to be heard.

 

The Private Security Agencies Act provides some eligibility conditions that the private agencies must keep in mind while hiring employees for the position of a private security guard.

These conditions are enumerated in Section 10 of the Act, and the same are enumerated below-[3]

  • he is a citizen of India or any other country which may be specified by the Central Government by a notification in the Official Gazette,
  • he is between the age bracket of eighteen to sixty-five years,
  • has completed the prescribed security training successfully,
  • satisfies the agency in such manner as may be prescribed about his character and antecedents
  • fulfils the physical standards, if prescribed
  • fulfils any other condition, if prescribed

The person must not be convicted felon or must not have been dismissed or removed on grounds of misconduct or moral turpitude as specified by the Act while serving in any of the armed forces or police organisations. The Act prescribes that preference for the position of a private security guard shall be given to a person who has served as a member in any of the armed forces under the Union or State police organisations, or home guards.

The State Government under the Act is empowered to make rules to prescribe the conditions on which the license shall be granted and may even make a change with respect to the requirement and conditions of the training of security guards by private security agencies.

Cancellation of License[4]

The controlling authority may cancel the license on any of the following grounds, if it is found that the agency holding the license has –

  • obtained such license by misrepresentation or suppression of material facts, or with the help of false documents or photographs
  • violated any provision under this Act or any other Act specified in the Schedule of this Act (such as Payment of Wages Act, etc) or any of the rules or conditions of the license
  • been engaged in fraudulent activities along with misuse of information n obtained by him during the discharge of his duties as the private security agency to any industrial or business undertaking or a company or any other person
  • been guilty of impersonation or permitting or aiding or abetting anybody to impersonate as a public servant
  • violated any court order or an order of a lawful authority or is guilty of advising, encouraging or assisting any person to violate any such order

There have been instances when the licenses have been cancelled due to the conduct of its employees (private security guards or guards) when there have been repeated instances such as –

  • guards provided by the security agency were guilty of gross negligence or they failed in providing adequate security to their clients.
  • Were found habitually drunk or lack of discipline.
  • were found to be party to or involved in committing crimes or has abetted a crime against the person or property placed under their charge;

The license may also be cancelled if the licence holder has done any act which poses a threat to national security, or if they did not provide assistance to the police or other authority in the discharge of its duties or acted in a manner prejudicial to national security or public order or law and order.

The Controlling authority being satisfied of any of the grounds mentioned above may by giving an order in writing suspend the operation of license (for a period not extending thirty days) of the said license holder by specifying the reason for such suspension in the order itself. The person concerned (license holder) shall be provided with a reasonable opportunity to be heard before a final order for cancellation is made by the Controlling Authority.

Appeal may be made by the aggrieved person against an order passed by the Controlling Authority to the Home Secretary of the State Government within a period of sixty days of the date of such order. The State Government as well before the disposing of an appeal provide the appellant a reasonable opportunity to be heard[5].

 

Various other pre requisites and conditions to be followed by the Private State Agencies

The Act stipulates that a register is to be maintained by the private security agencies consisting of the details of the people managing the private agency along with the personal and work details of the private security guards, including their salaries. The Controlling Authority may even ask for any other information that it considers necessary in order to ensure due compliance with the provisions of the Act of 2005[6].

The Controlling Authority or any other officer authorised by it on their behalf may at any reasonable time, enter the premises of the private security agency, and conduct inspection. Further, they also have the power to examine the place of business, the records, accounts and other documents connected with the licence and may take copy of any document that it may deem necessary.

The Act provides that no person or private security agency shall provide security services or security guards without a license[7]. Any person found guilty of such contravention shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with a fine which may extend to twenty-five thousand rupees, or both. The punishment may also entail suspension or cancellation of the licence. Furthermore, the use of unauthorised uniforms bearing the mark of any armed forces or police organisation or any other national guard is forbidden under the Act[8].

The Central Government has the power to frame model rules to which the State Government while making any rules under the powers provided to it under this Act conform to and incorporate accordingly.

[1] The Private Security Agencies Act, §7, Act of Parliament, 2005

[2] The Private Security Agencies Act, §8, Act of Parliament, 2005

[3] The Private Security Agencies Act, §10, Act of Parliament, 2005

[4] The Private Security Agencies Act, §13, Act of Parliament, 2005

[5] The Private Security Agencies Act, §14, Act of Parliament, 2005

[6] The Private Security Agencies Act, §15, Act of Parliament, 2005

[7] The Private Security Agencies Act, §4, Act of Parliament, 2005

[8] The Private Security Agencies Act, §20, Act of Parliament, 2005

 

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