Indian Boilers Act, 1923


The Indian Boilers Act, 1923, was enacted to consolidate and amend the law relating to steam boilers in India. It contains clauses on the registration, inspection, and maintenance of boilers, and also covers the prevention of accidents.

A boiler refers to any closed vessel with a capacity of over 22.75 litres which is used to generate steam under pressure, and includes any mounting or other fitting attached to the vessel “…which is wholly or partly under pressure when is shut off.” The Act defines an ‘accident’ as an explosion of a boiler or steam-pipe, or any damage to a boiler or steam-pipe, which can weaken the boiler’s strength and render it liable to explode.

This Act, which Parliament passed on February 23, 1923, extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu & Kashmir (now a union territory).


  1. What are the duties of owners of boilers?

    On any date fixed under the provisions of this Act, the owner of a boiler shall prepare it for examination, and provide the Inspector, appointed by the state government, with all the information and facilities which they may require, such as drawings, specification or other particulars.

    In case of an accident, the owner or the person in charge of the boiler shall report it to the Inspector within 24 hours, in writing. The report shall contain a description of the nature of the accident and injuries caused to persons, if any.

  2. When does the Act prohibit the use of a boiler?

    No owner of a boiler – unless otherwise mentioned in the Act – shall use or permit the use of a boiler if it is not registered as per the provisions of this Act; unless a certificate or provisional order authorising the use of the boiler is in force under this Act; or if the boiler is operating at a pressure level which is higher than the maximum pressure stated in such a certificate or provisional order. Owners shall not allow the use of any boiler which has been transferred from one state to another, until the transfer is registered as per the provisions of this Act. Where state governments have made rules requiring persons in charge of boilers to hold prescribed certificates of proficiency or competency, no owner shall allow the use of such a boiler unless these requirements are met.

  3. What does the Act say about the revocation of certificates or provisional orders?

    The Chief Inspector – appointed by the government under this Act – may withdraw or revoke any certificate or provisional order authorising the use of a boiler at any time. The inspector shall do so if there is reason to believe that the certificate or order has been granted or obtained without sufficient examination or fraudulently, if the boiler is damaged and no longer in ‘good condition’, or if the Chief Inspector is of the opinion that the person responsible for the boiler is not competent for such a job. Where state governments have made rules requiring persons in charge of boilers to hold prescribed certificates of proficiency or competency, Chief Inspectors may revoke the certificate or provisional order for such a boiler if these requirements are not met.

  4. What does the Act stipulate for appealing against the orders of Chief Inspectors?

    A person, if aggrieved by an order of a Chief Inspector, may file an appeal to an ‘appellate authority’ within 30 days of receiving an order refusing to register the boiler; refusing to grant or renew, or withdrawing or revoking, a certificate or provisional order authorising the boiler’s use; or making or prohibiting ‘structural alterations’ to the boiler.

  5. What are the ‘limitations of application’ of this Act?

    Nothing in this Act shall apply to steam vessels as defined in the Inland Vessels Act, 1917. (The Inland Vessels Act, 1917, defines ‘inland vessels’ as mechanically propelled vessels – including those powered by steam – which ordinarily ply on inland water.) The Act shall not apply to boilers under the control of the Indian army, navy or air force; or “…appertaining to a sterilizer or disinfector as is commonly used in hospitals, if the boiler does not exceed ninety-one litres in capacity.”

    The central government may – through a notification in The Gazette of India – declare that the provisions of this Act shall not apply to boilers or steam-pipes belonging to, or under the control of, any railway administered by the central or state governments. Similarly, state governments may exclude any of its areas from any or all provisions of this Act.

    Focus and Factoids by Bharti Patel.


Ministry of Law and Justice


Government of India, New Delhi


23 Feb, 1923