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What is the Private Security Agency Regulation Act (PSARA)?

All private security agencies are governed by the Private Security Agency Regulation Act (PSARA), 2005. The main objective of the legislation is to regulate the activities of such agencies and prevent them from interfering with the working of the law-and-order sector of the country. The agencies provide private security services to individuals and companies and also offer training to individuals who intend to join security-centric careers.


The Private Security Agency Regulation Act (PSARA), 2005 was put forth to govern and regulate the private security agencies operating in the country. The Act primarily deals with issues pertaining to the functioning of these security agencies. These are primarily agencies that were functioning without any background verification of the personnel employed as private security guards and supervisors.

The intention of the Act is to regulate the activities and the functioning of various security agencies, thus making it mandatory for them to operate within a stringent legal framework. This would also ensure that they do not intrude or interfere with the duties of the police, use weapons illegally, indulge in antisocial and criminal activities, or wear uniforms resembling those of the police.

The state government wherein the security agency is registered will have the power to regulate its affairs and may also formulate rules in respect of it. As per the provisions of the Act, a private security agency cannot function or commence business or provide security guards without holding a license under PSARA. As per the terms of the Act, these agencies are required to elect supervisors, to oversee the work of the sub-ordinate security guards. The supervisors thus elected often hail from the army, navy, or air force with at least 3 years of experience, or persons of such cadre are given the first preference to hold the post. The Act also delineates the standards for qualification and disqualification for security guards employed in the agencies.

Objectives of the PSARA Act

While the primary goal of the PSARA Act is to oversee Private Security Agencies, its objectives go beyond mere regulation. Let’s delve into the main purposes behind the introduction of the PSARA Act in India and how these objectives have contributed to the development of a resilient private security sector amidst evolving security challenges.

Regulation of Private Security Agencies: The Act outlines protocols and processes governing the functioning of private security agencies. This includes stipulations for obtaining licenses and adherence to a specific code of conduct.

Protection of Public Interests: Through the implementation of stringent eligibility criteria, background checks, and training mandates for private security guards, the Act seeks to protect the interests of the public. It aims to instill confidence in the quality of services offered by private security agencies.

Promotion of Professionalism and Competence: The Act underscores the importance of employing well-trained and qualified security personnel. This emphasis on professionalism and competence contributes to raising the overall standards of the private security industry.

Establishment of a Competent Administrative Authority: The Act designates a Controlling Authority tasked with overseeing the enforcement of its provisions. This authority ensures that private security agencies comply with the regulations set forth in the Act.

Imposition of Penalties for Violations: To uphold accountability and adherence to the Act’s guidelines, it delineates penalties and consequences for agencies found in violation of its provisions.

Key Features of PSARA:

  1. A private security agency cannot enter business, without procuring a license under the Act

2. Criteria for a private security agency to obtain a license:

The applicant cannot obtain license if:

    • Convicted of an offence pertaining to promotion, formation, or management of a company
    • Convicted of an offence for which the punishment is imprisonment of not less than two years
    • The individual has connections with any organisation or association that is banned under law or has indulged in activities that are prejudicial to national security or public order
    • The individual has exhibited misconduct or moral turpitude and therefore was dismissed or removed from Government service

Also, a company cannot obtain a license if it is not registered in India or if its proprietor or a majority shareholder, partner, or director is not an Indian citizen

3. Criteria for a private security guard to obtain a license:

A person cannot be employed as private security unless he:

    • Is an Indian citizen or a citizen of any other country as stipulated by the Central Government
    • Is above 18 years but not above 65 years of age
    • Is of reputable character
    • Has completed the required training
    • Is physically fit as per the Act
    • Satisfies other conditions mentioned in the Act
    • Is not convicted by a competent court or dismissed or removed on the grounds of misconduct or moral turpitude.

Persons who have served as a member of the army, navy, air force, any other union armed forces, police, and home guards shall be given preference. A Private Security Agency Licensing Portal was launched through the Private Security Agencies Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2019, which enables background verification, online licensing fee payment, along with facilities of e-sign and geo-tagging to simplify the licensing process under the Act.

4. Uniform of Private Security Guards:

The uniform worn by the private security guards must be unique and not resemble the uniforms worn by the personnel in Army, Navy, or Air Force. The uniform should include an arm badge, chest badge, whistle attached to the whistle cord, shoes with laces, and a unique mark of the agency exhibited on the headgear. The security guards should also carry their photo identity cards during the time of duty.

5. Training:

The private security guards and supervisors should undergo adequate training and possess skills as specified in the Act. The training includes a minimum of 100 hours of classroom instruction and 60 hours of field training.

6. Physical Fitness:

The security guards employed under the Act are required to meet the basic minimum standard of physical fitness including:

    • Height and weight within the standard table of height and Weight
    • Should have a clear vision with or without corrective lenses and should not have low vision
    • Should not have any hearing defects
    • Should possess dexterity and should be powerful enough to perform searches, handle objects and use force for restraining individuals, id required
    • Should not have any contagious disease or any disease that makes the candidate unfit for service or endanger the health of the public
    • Should take up medical examination every two years during their working period
    • Should present a medical fitness certificate from an authorised medical officer.

7. Legal Compliance:

The agencies must comply with several other labor laws and legislations such as:

    • The Payment of Wages Act, 1936
    • The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
    • The Minimum Wages Act, 1948
    • The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952
    • The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965
    • The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
    • The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
    • The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
    • The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service)

8. Maintenance of Register:

A register should be maintained by the security agencies which contains information pertaining to:

    • Details such as name and address of the authority managing the private security agency
    • Details such as names, photographs, salaries and address of the security staff working in the agency
    • Details of the persons or companies to whom the agency provides security services.

 9. Procedure for Registration:

Private Security agencies are mandated to obtain a license under PSARA before commencing their operations. At first, the parties have to decide upon the model of the business organisation. This decision should be made by considering various factors like scale, finance, liabilities, control, etc. While making an application under the Act, the applicant has to specify the district or state in which the agency will operate. The application process and the application fees vary with the licensing area.

The model of the agency can be any one of the following:

10. Prerequisites under PSARA:

    • Registration with the service tax department and Allotment of PAN (Permanent Account Number)
    • License under the Shops & Establishment Act
    • Provident Fund registration
    • Employee’s State Insurance Registration
    • Registration under the Contractual Labour Act.

11. Documents Required:

    • Affidavit as per PSARA Act
    • Affidavit of security training
    • Logo for the security agency
    • Character verification certificate for the employees
    • Ownership proof for the principal place of business
    • Identity card for all employees
    • Detailed armed licenses
    • Uniform pattern.

The above are characteristics and prerequisites of the Private Security Agency Regulation Act (PSARA), 2005. Once the requisites are duly fulfilled, the applicant will be able to obtain a license under the Act. The Application should be submitted along with the licensing fee to the Controlling Authority of the region. Obtaining the license, however, can be a tedious process. At Vakilsearch, we have a proficient legal team that can help you to get your security agency registered under the Act. We can also aid you with the other legal procedures with respect to registering the agency. Leave us a message if you need help and we will call you back!


What are the penalties for operating a private security agency without a valid license under PSARA?

The penalties for operating a private security agency without a valid license under PSARA can include fines and imprisonment. According to Section 20(1) of the Act, any person who operates without a valid licence shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year or with a fine that may extend to twenty-five thousand rupees, or with both

Is there a renewal process for the license obtained under the Private Security Agency Regulation Act, and how frequently should it be renewed?

Yes, there is a renewal process for the license obtained under the Private Security Agency Regulation Act. The license should be renewed every 5 years, and the renewal application should be filed at least 45 days before the expiry of the validity period.

What are the obligations of private security agencies in terms of employee welfare and working conditions as per PSARA?

Private security agencies have obligations to ensure the welfare and working conditions of their employees as per PSARA. These obligations include providing training for security guards and supervisors, maintaining the principal place of business, and adhering to the conditions of the license.

How does PSARA address the use of firearms and other equipment by private security personnel?

PSARA regulates the use of firearms and other equipment by private security personnel. It requires security personnel to undergo training and obtain the necessary licenses for the use of firearms and other equipment. The use of firearms and other equipment must also comply with the relevant laws and regulations.

Are there any specific standards or qualifications that private security personnel must meet under the Private Security Agency Regulation Act?

Yes, there are specific standards and qualifications that private security personnel must meet under the Private Security Agency Regulation Act. These include being Indian nationals, not being minors, having the necessary training, and having a good service track record. The Act also sets out the criteria for the eligibility of private security agencies and the renewal of their licenses

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