FOREIGN EXCHANGE MANAGEMENT ACT, 1999
An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to foreign
exchange with the objective of facilitating external trade
and payments and for promoting the orderly
development and maintenance of foreign
exchange market in India.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Fiftieth Year of the Republic of India as follows :—
Short title, extent, application and commencement.
1. (1) This Act may be called the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
(2) It extends to the whole of India.
(3) It shall also apply to all branches, offices and agencies outside India owned or controlled by a person resident in India and also to any contravention thereunder committed outside India by any person to whom this Act applies.
(4) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint:
Provided that different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act and any reference in any such provision to the commencement of this Act shall be construed as a reference to the coming into force of that provision
2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—
(a) "Adjudicating Authority" means an officer authorised under sub-section (1) of section 16;
1[(b) "Appellate Tribunal" means the Appellate Tribunal referred to in section 18;]
(c) "authorised person" means an authorised dealer, money changer, offshore banking unit or any other person for the time being authorised under sub-section (1) of section 10 to deal in foreign exchange or foreign securities;
2[(cc) "Authorised Officer" means an officer of the Directorate of Enforcement authorised by the Central Government under section 37A;]
(d) "Bench" means a Bench of the Appellate Tribunal;
(e) "capital account transaction" means a transaction which alters the assets or liabilities, including contingent liabilities, outside India of persons resident in India or assets or liabilities in India of persons resident outside India, and includes transactions referred to in sub-section (3) of section 6;
(f) "Chairperson" means the Chairperson of the Appellate Tribunal;
(g) "chartered accountant" shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 (38 of 1949);
3[(gg) "Competent Authority" means the Authority appointed by the Central Government under sub-section (2) of section 37A;]
(h) "currency" includes all currency notes, postal notes, postal orders, money orders, cheques, drafts, travellers cheques, letters of credit, bills of exchange and promissory notes, credit cards or such other similar instruments, as may be notified4 by the Reserve Bank;
(i) "currency notes" means and includes cash in the form of coins and bank notes;
(j) "current account transaction" means a transaction other than a capital account transaction and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing such transaction includes,—
(i) payments due in connection with foreign trade, other current business, services, and short-term banking and credit facilities in the ordinary course of business,
(ii) payments due as interest on loans and as net income from investments,
(iii) remittances for living expenses of parents, spouse and children residing abroad, and
(iv) expenses in connection with foreign travel, education and medical care of parents, spouse and children;
(k) "Director of Enforcement" means the Director of Enforcement appointed under sub-section (1) of section 36;
(l) "export", with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, means—
(i) the taking out of India to a place outside India any goods,
(ii) provision of services from India to any person outside India;
(m) "foreign currency" means any currency other than Indian currency;
(n) "foreign exchange" means foreign currency and includes,—
(i) deposits, credits and balances payable in any foreign currency,
(ii) drafts, travellers cheques, letters of credit or bills of exchange, expressed or drawn in Indian currency but payable in any foreign currency,
(iii) drafts, travellers cheques, letters of credit or bills of exchange drawn by banks, institutions or persons outside India, but payable in Indian currency;
(o) "foreign security" means any security, in the form of shares, stocks, bonds, debentures or any other instrument denominated or expressed in foreign currency and includes securities expressed in foreign currency, but where redemption or any form of return such as interest or dividends is payable in Indian currency;
(p) "import", with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, means bringing into India any goods or services;
(q) "Indian currency" means currency which is expressed or drawn in Indian rupees but does not include special bank notes and special one rupee notes issued under section 28A of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (2 of 1934);
(r) "legal practitioner" shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (i) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Advocates Act, 1961 (25 of 1961);
(s) "Member" means a Member of the Appellate Tribunal and includes the Chairperson thereof;
(t) "notify" means to notify in the Official Gazette and the expression "notification" shall be construed accordingly;
(u) "person" includes—
(i) an individual,
(ii) a Hindu undivided family,
(iii) a company,
(iv) a firm,
(v) an association of persons or a body of individuals, whether incorporated or not,
(vi) every artificial juridical person, not falling within any of the preceding sub-clauses, and
(vii) any agency, office or branch owned or controlled by such person;
(v) "person resident in India" means—
(i) a person residing in India for more than one hundred and eighty-two days during the course of the preceding financial year but does not include—
(A) a person who has gone out of India or who stays outside India, in either case—
(a) for or on taking up employment outside India, or
(b) for carrying on outside India a business or vocation outside India, or
(c) for any other purpose, in such circumstances as would indicate his intention to stay outside India for an uncertain period;
(B) a person who has come to or stays in India, in either case, otherwise than—
(a) for or on taking up employment in India, or
(b) for carrying on in India a business or vocation in India, or
(c) for any other purpose, in such circumstances as would indicate his intention to stay in India for an uncertain period;
(ii) any person or body corporate registered or incorporated in India,
(iii) an office, branch or agency in India owned or controlled by a person resident outside India,
(iv) an office, branch or agency outside India owned or controlled by a person resident in India;
(w) "person resident outside India" means a person who is not resident in India;
(x) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(y) "repatriate to India" means bringing into India the realised foreign exchange and—
(i) the selling of such foreign exchange to an authorised person in India in exchange for rupees, or
(ii) the holding of realised amount in an account with an authorised person in India to the extent notified by the Reserve Bank,
and includes use of the realised amount for discharge of a debt or liability denominated in foreign exchange and the expression "repatriation" shall be construed accordingly;
(z) "Reserve Bank" means the Reserve Bank of India constituted under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (2 of 1934);
(za) "security" means shares, stocks, bonds and debentures, Government securities as defined in the Public Debt Act, 1944 (18 of 1944), savings certificates to which the Government Savings Certificates Act, 1959 (46 of 1959) applies, deposit receipts in respect of deposits of securities and units of the Unit Trust of India established under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unit Trust of India Act, 1963 (52 of 1963) or of any mutual fund and includes certificates of title to securities, but does not include bills of exchange or promissory notes other than Government promissory notes or any other instruments which may be notified by the Reserve Bank as security for the purposes of this Act;
(zb) "service" means service of any description which is made available to potential users and includes the provision of facilities in connection with banking, financing, insurance, medical assistance, legal assistance, chit fund, real estate, transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, boarding or lodging or both, entertainment, amusement or the purveying of news or other information, but does not include the rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service;
(zc) "Special Director (Appeals)" means an officer appointed under 5[section 17];
(zd) "specify" means to specify by regulations made under this Act and the expression "specified" shall be construed accordingly;
(ze) "transfer" includes sale, purchase, exchange, mortgage, pledge, gift, loan or any other form of transfer of right, title, possession or lien.
REGULATION AND MANAGEMENT OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Dealing in foreign exchange, etc.
3. Save as otherwise provided in this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder, or with the general or special permission of the Reserve Bank, no person shall—
(a) deal in or transfer any foreign exchange or foreign security to any person not being an authorised person;
(b) make any payment to or for the credit of any person resident outside India in any manner;
(c) receive otherwise (than) through an authorised person, any payment by order or on behalf of any person resident outside India in any manner;
Explanation.—For the purpose of this clause, where any person in, or resident in, India receives any payment by order or on behalf of any person resident outside India through any other person (including an authorised person) without a corresponding inward remittance from any place outside India, then, such person shall be deemed to have received such payment otherwise than through an authorised person;
(d) enter into any financial transaction in India as consideration for or in association with acquisition or creation or transfer of a right to acquire, any asset outside India by any person.
Explanation.—For the purpose of this clause, “financial transaction” means making any payment to, or for the credit of any person, or receiving any payment for, by order or on behalf of any person, or drawing, issuing or negotiating any bill of exchange or promissory note, or transferring any security or acknowledging any debt.
Holding of foreign exchange, etc.
4. Save as otherwise provided in this Act, no person resident in India shall acquire, hold, own, possess or transfer any foreign exchange, foreign security or any immovable property situated outside India.
Current account transactions.
5. Any person may sell or draw foreign exchange to or from an authorised person if such sale or drawal is a current account transaction:
Provided that the Central Government may, in public interest and in consultation with the Reserve Bank, impose such reasonable restrictions for current account transactions as may be prescribed.
Capital account transactions.
6. (1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), any person may sell or draw foreign exchange to or from an authorised person for a capital account transaction.
(2) The Reserve Bank may, in consultation with the Central Government, specify—
(a) any class or classes of capital account transactions which are permissible;
(b) the limit up to which foreign exchange shall be admissible for such transactions:
Provided that the Reserve Bank shall not impose any restriction on the drawal of foreign exchange for payments due on account of amortization of loans or for depreciation of direct investments in the ordinary course of business.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (2), the Reserve Bank may, by regulations, prohibit, restrict or regulate the following—
(a) transfer or issue of any foreign security by a person resident in India;
(b) transfer or issue of any security by a person resident outside India;
(c) transfer or issue of any security or foreign security by any branch, office or agency in India of a person resident outside India;
(d) any borrowing or lending in foreign exchange in whatever form or by whatever name called;
(e) any borrowing or lending in rupees in whatever form or by whatever name called between a person resident in India and a person resident outside India;
(f) deposits between persons resident in India and persons resident outside India;
(g) export, import or holding of currency or currency notes;
(h) transfer of immovable property outside India, other than a lease not exceeding five years, by a person resident in India;
(i) acquisition or transfer of immovable property in India, other than a lease not exceeding five years, by a person resident outside India;
(j) giving of a guarantee or surety in respect of any debt, obligation or other liability incurred—
(i) by a person resident in India and owed to a person resident outside India; or
(ii) by a person resident outside India.
(4) A person resident in India may hold, own, transfer or invest in foreign currency, foreign security or any immovable property situated outside India if such currency, security or property was acquired, held or owned by such person when he was resident outside India or inherited from a person who was resident outside India.
(5) A person resident outside India may hold, own, transfer or invest in Indian currency, security or any immovable property situated in India if such currency, security or property was acquired, held or owned by such person when he was resident in India or inherited from a person who was resident in India.
(6) Without prejudice to the provisions of this section, the Reserve Bank may, by regulation, prohibit, restrict, or regulate establishment in India of a branch, office or other place of business by a person resident outside India, for carrying on any activity relating to such branch, office or other place of business.
Export of goods and services.
7. (1) Every exporter of goods shall—
(a) furnish to the Reserve Bank or to such other authority a declaration in such form and in such manner as may be specified, containing true and correct material particulars, including the amount representing the full export value or, if the full export value of the goods is not ascertainable at the time of export, the value which the exporter, having regard to the prevailing market conditions, expects to receive on the sale of the goods in a market outside India;
(b) furnish to the Reserve Bank such other information as may be required by the Reserve Bank for the purpose of ensuring the realisation of the export proceeds by such exporter.
Realisation and repatriation of foreign exchange.
8. Save as otherwise provided in this Act, where any amount of foreign exchange is due or has accrued to any person resident in India, such person shall take all reasonable steps to realise and repatriate to India such foreign exchange within such period and in such manner as may be specified by the Reserve Bank.
Exemption from realisation and repatriation in certain cases.
9. The provisions of sections 4 and 8 shall not apply to the following, namely:—
(a) possession of foreign currency or foreign coins by any person up to such limit as the Reserve Bank may specify;
(b) foreign currency account held or operated by such person or class of persons and the limit up to which the Reserve Bank may specify;
(c) foreign exchange acquired or received before the 8th day of July, 1947 or any income arising or accruing thereon which is held outside India by any person in pursuance of a general or special permission granted by the Reserve Bank;
(d) foreign exchange held by a person resident in India up to such limit as the Reserve Bank may specify, if such foreign exchange was acquired by way of gift or inheritance from a person referred to in clause (c), including any income arising therefrom;
(e) foreign exchange acquired from employment, business, trade, vocation, services, honorarium, gifts, inheritance or any other legitimate means up to such limit as the Reserve Bank may specify; and
(f) such other receipts in foreign exchange as the Reserve Bank may specify.
10. (1) The Reserve Bank may, on an application made to it in this behalf, authorise any person to be known as authorised person to deal in foreign exchange or in foreign securities, as an authorised dealer, money changer or off-shore banking unit or in any other manner as it deems fit.
(2) An authorisation under this section shall be in writing and shall be subject to the conditions laid down therein.
(3) An authorisation granted under sub-section (1) may be revoked by the Reserve Bank at any time if the Reserve Bank is satisfied that—
(a) it is in public interest so to do; or
(b) the authorised person has failed to comply with the condition subject to which the authorisation was granted or has contravened any of the provisions of the Act or any rule, regulation, notification, direction or order made thereunder:
Provided that no such authorisation shall be revoked on any ground referred to in clause (b) unless the authorised person has been given a reasonable opportunity of making a representation in the matter.
(4) An authorised person shall, in all his dealings in foreign exchange or foreign security, comply with such general or special directions or orders as the Reserve Bank may, from time to time, think fit to give, and, except with the previous permission of the Reserve Bank, an authorised person shall not engage in any transaction involving any foreign exchange or foreign security which is not in conformity with the terms of his authorisation under this section.
(5) An authorised person shall, before undertaking any transaction in foreign exchange on behalf of any person, require that person to make such declaration and to give such information as will reasonably satisfy him that the transaction will not involve, and is not designed for the purpose of any contravention or evasion of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, regulation, notification, direction or order made thereunder, and where the said person refuses to comply with any such requirement or makes only unsatisfactory compliance therewith, the authorised person shall refuse in writing to undertake the transaction and shall, if he has reason to believe that any such contravention or evasion as aforesaid is contemplated by the person, report the matter to the Reserve Bank.
(6) Any person, other than an authorised person, who has acquired or purchased foreign exchange for any purpose mentioned in the declaration made by him to authorised person under sub-section (5) does not use it for such purpose or does not surrender it to authorised person within the specified period or uses the foreign exchange so acquired or purchased for any other purpose for which purchase or acquisition of foreign exchange is not permissible under the provisions of the Act or the rules or regulations or direction or order made thereunder shall be deemed to have committed contravention of the provisions of the Act for the purpose of this section.
(2) The Reserve Bank may, for the purpose of ensuring that the full export value of the goods or such reduced value of the goods as the Reserve Bank determines, having regard to the prevailing market conditions, is received without any delay, direct any exporter to comply with such requirements as it deems fit.
(3) Every exporter of services shall furnish to the Reserve Bank or to such other authorities a declaration in such form and in such manner as may be specified, containing the true and correct material particulars in relation to payment for such services.
Reserve Bank’s powers to issue directions to authorised person.
11. (1) The Reserve Bank may, for the purpose of securing compliance with the provisions of this Act and of any rules, regulations, notifications or directions made thereunder, give to the authorised persons any direction in regard to making of payment or the doing or desist from doing any act relating to foreign exchange or foreign security.
(2) The Reserve Bank may, for the purpose of ensuring the compliance with the provisions of this Act or of any rule, regulation, notification, direction or order made thereunder, direct any authorised person to furnish such information, in such manner, as it deems fit.
(3) Where any authorised person contravenes any direction given by the Reserve Bank under this Act or fails to file any return as directed by the Reserve Bank, the Reserve Bank may, after giving reasonable opportunity of being heard, impose on the authorised person a penalty which may extend to ten thousand rupees and in the case of continuing contravention with an additional penalty which may extend to two thousand rupees for every day during which such contravention continues.
CONTRAVENTION AND PENALTIES
13. (1) If any person contravenes any provision of this Act, or contravenes any rule, regulation, notification, direction or order issued in exercise of the powers under this Act, or contravenes any condition subject to which an authorisation is issued by the Reserve Bank, he shall, upon adjudication, be liable to a penalty up to thrice the sum involved in such contravention where such amount is quantifiable, or up to two lakh rupees where the amount is not quantifiable, and where such contravention is a continuing one, further penalty which may extend to five thousand rupees for every day after the first day during which the contravention continues.
(2) Any Adjudicating Authority adjudging any contravention under sub-section (1), may, if he thinks fit in addition to any penalty which he may impose for such contravention direct that any currency, security or any other money or property in respect of which the contravention has taken place shall be confiscated to the Central Government and further direct that the foreign exchange holdings, if any of the persons committing the contraventions or any part thereof, shall be brought back into India or shall be retained outside India in accordance with the directions made in this behalf.
Explanation.—For the purposes of this sub-section, “property” in respect of which contravention has taken place, shall include—
(a) deposits in a bank, where the said property is converted into such deposits;
(b) Indian currency, where the said property is converted into that currency; and
(c) any other property which has resulted out of the conversion of that property.
12. (1) The Reserve Bank may, at any time, cause an inspection to be made, by any officer of the Reserve Bank specially authorised in writing by the Reserve Bank in this behalf, of the business of any authorised person as may appear to it to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of—
(a) verifying the correctness of any statement, information or particulars furnished to the Reserve Bank;
(b) obtaining any information or particulars which such authorised person has failed to furnish on being called upon to do so;
(c) securing compliance with the provisions of this Act or of any rules, regulations, directions or orders made thereunder.
(2) It shall be the duty of every authorised person, and where such person is a company or a firm, every director, partner or other officer of such company or firm, as the case may be, to produce to any officer making an inspection under sub-section (1), such books, accounts and other documents in his custody or power and to furnish any statement or information relating to the affairs of such person, company or firm as the said officer may require within such time and in such manner as the said officer may direct.
Enforcement of the orders of Adjudicating Authority.
14. (1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 19, if any person fails to make full payment of the penalty imposed on him under section 13 within a period of ninety days from the date on which the notice for payment of such penalty is served on him, he shall be liable to civil imprisonment under this section.
(2) No order for the arrest and detention in civil prison of a defaulter shall be made unless the Adjudicating Authority has issued and served a notice upon the defaulter calling upon him to appear before him on the date specified in the notice and to show cause why he should not be committed to the civil prison, and unless the Adjudicating Authority, for reasons in writing, is satisfied—
(a) that the defaulter, with the object or effect of obstructing the recovery of penalty, has after the issue of notice by the Adjudicating Authority, dishonestly transferred, concealed, or removed any part of his property, or
(b) that the defaulter has, or has had since the issuing of notice by the Adjudicating Authority, the means to pay the arrears or some substantial part thereof and refuses or neglects or has refused or neglected to pay the same.
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), a warrant for the arrest of the defaulter may be issued by the Adjudicating Authority if the Adjudicating Authority is satisfied, by affidavit or otherwise, that with the object or effect of delaying the execution of the certificate the defaulter is likely to abscond or leave the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Adjudicating Authority.
(4) Where appearance is not made pursuant to a notice issued and served under sub-section (1), the Adjudicating Authority may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defaulter.
(5) A warrant of arrest issued by the Adjudicating Authority under sub-section (3) or sub-section (4) may also be executed by any other Adjudicating Authority within whose jurisdiction the defaulter may for the time being be found.
(6) Every person arrested in pursuance of a warrant of arrest under this section shall be brought before the Adjudicating Authority issuing the warrant as soon as practicable and in any event within twenty-four hours of his arrest (exclusive of the time required for the journey):
Provided that, if the defaulter pays the amount entered in the warrant of arrest as due and the costs of the arrest to the officer arresting him, such officer shall at once release him.
Explanation.—For the purposes of this sub-section, where the defaulter is a Hindu undivided family, the karta thereof shall be deemed to be the defaulter.
(7) When a defaulter appears before the Adjudicating Authority pursuant to a notice to show cause or is brought before the Adjudicating Authority under this section, the Adjudicating Authority shall give the defaulter an opportunity showing cause why he should not be committed to the civil prison.
(8) Pending the conclusion of the inquiry, the Adjudicating Authority may, in his discretion, order the defaulter to be detained in the custody of such officer as the Adjudicating Authority may think fit or release him on his furnishing the security to the satisfaction of the Adjudicating Authority for his appearance as and when required.
(9) Upon the conclusion of the inquiry, the Adjudicating Authority may make an order for the detention of the defaulter in the civil prison and shall in that event cause him to be arrested if he is not already under arrest:
Provided that in order to give a defaulter an opportunity of satisfying the arrears, the Adjudicating Authority may, before making the order of detention, leave the defaulter in the custody of the officer arresting him or of any other officer for a specified period not exceeding fifteen days, or release him on his furnishing security to the satisfaction of the Adjudicating Authority for his appearance at the expiration of the specified period if the arrears are not satisfied.
(10) When the Adjudicating Authority does not make an order of detention under sub-section (9), he shall, if the defaulter is under arrest, direct his release.
(11) Every person detained in the civil prison in execution of the certificate may be so detained,—
(a) where the certificate is for a demand of an amount exceeding rupees one crore, up to three years, and
(b) in any other case, up to six months:
Provided that he shall be released from such detention on the amount mentioned in the warrant for his detention being paid to the officer-in-charge of the civil prison.
(12) A defaulter released from detention under this section shall not, merely by reason of his release, be discharged from his liability for the arrears, but he shall not be liable to be arrested under the certificate in execution of which he was detained in the civil prison.
(13) A detention order may be executed at any place in India in the manner provided for the execution of warrant of arrest under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).
Power to recover arrears of penalty.
14A . (1) Save as otherwise provided in this Act, the Adjudicating Authority may, by order in writing, authorise an officer of Enforcement not below the rank of Assistant Director to recover any arrears of penalty from any person who fails to make full payment of penalty imposed on hin under section 13 within the period of ninety days from the date on which the notice for payment of such penalty is served on him.
(2) The officer referred to in sub-section (1) shall exercise all the like powers which are conferred on the income-tax authority in relation to recovery of tax under the Income-tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961) and the procedure laid down under the Second Schedule to the said Act shall mutatis mutandis apply in relation to recovery of arrears of penalty under this Act.]
FOREIGN EXCHANGE MANAGEMENT ACT, 1999