The Post Office Act, 2023, comes into force with effect from 18th June, 2024. 

More on the news

  • The Post Office Bill, 2023 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on 10.08.2023 and was passed in Rajya Sabha on 04.12.2023. 
  • The Bill was then considered and passed by Lok Sabha on 13.12.2023 and 18.12.2023.
  • It received the assent of the Hon’ble President of India on 24th December 2023 and was published in the Gazette of India, by the Ministry of Law & Justice (Legislative Department) for general information.

Key highlights of the Act

  • The Act replaces the Indian Post Office Act of 1898. 
  • It regulates the Indian Post, a departmental undertaking of the central government.
  • The Director General of Postal Services will be appointed to head India Post. He will have powers to make regulations on various matters including tariffs for services and supply of postage stamps.
  • The government may intercept an article transmitted through India Post on specified grounds including security of the state and public order.
  • India Post will not incur any liability about its services, except any liability prescribed through Rules.
  • Section 9 of the act allows the Centre to, empower any officer to “intercept, open or detain any item” in the interest of state security, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, emergency, public safety, or infringement of other laws.
  • It removes all penalties and offenses under the 1898 Act.
  • It removed Section 4 of the 1898 Act, which allowed the Centre the exclusive privilege of conveying all letters by post, from one place to another.
  • The Act aims to create a simple legislative framework for delivering citizen-centric services, banking ser, and benefits of Government schemes.
  • Act “consolidate and amend the law relating to Post Office in India,” which today provides many services beyond simply mail delivery, the primary concern of the Indian Post Office Act of 1898.

Key issues 

  • The act does not specify procedural safeguards for interception of articles transmitted through India Post. Lack of safeguards may violate freedom of speech and expression, and the right to privacy of individuals.
  • The act eliminates or reduces the burden of accountability that should naturally accompany a governmental enterprise like India Post.

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