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Monday, February 26, 2024

Rajya Sabha Passes Post Office Bill, Amending 125-Year-Old Indian Post Office Act

The Rajya Sabha passed the Post Office Bill, 2023 on Monday, which seeks to remove the 125-year-old Indian Post Office Act as well as consolidate and alter the legislation governing post offices in the country.

According to the legislation in question, “the central government may, by notification, empower any officer to intercept, open or detain any item in the interest of the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, emergency or public safety, or upon the occurrence of any contravention of any of the provisions of any law for the time being in force” .

Responding to the discussion in the Upper House of Parliament on the Bill’s consideration, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw clarified the provision for interception. “”In a society which is as complex and diverse, and times which are as difficult as they are, it is very important that interception is done. This kind of a provision is kept for national security,” he said.

During the Monsoon Session of Parliament, the Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha.

According to the bill’s statement of objects and reasons, the services available through post offices have diversified beyond mail over the years, and the post office network has become a vehicle for the delivery of a variety of citizen-centric services, necessitating the repeal of the Indian Post Office Act, which was enacted in 1898 primarily to address the mail services provided through post offices.

The adoption of a new legislation in lieu of the Indian Post Office Act of 1898 is intended to control the operation of the country’s post offices and to offer a simple legislative framework to support the development of post offices into a network for the delivery of citizen-centric services.

The bill proposes to allow the director general of postal services to create regulations governing the activities required to deliver those services and to set fees for those services.

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