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RS okays bill allowing interception, opening of postal items

December 04, 2023 18:59 IST

The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the Post Office Bill, 2023 that seeks to repeal the 125-year-old Indian Post Office Act and consolidate and amend the law relating to post offices in the country.

IMAGE: Rajya Sabha MPs on the first day of the Winter Session of the Parliament, in New Delhi. Photograph: Sansad TV/ANI Photo

According to the proposed legislation, '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'.


Replying to the discussion for the consideration of the Bill in the Upper House of Parliament, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw explained 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.

The Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

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

The enactment of a new law in place of the Indian Post Office Act, 1898 is with a view to govern the functioning of the post offices in the country and provide for a simple legislative framework to facilitate the evolution of the post offices into a network for delivery of citizen-centric services.

The bill seeks to empower the director general of postal services to frame regulations in respect of activities necessary to provide those services and fix the charges for such services.

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