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INDIAN POST OFFICE ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 6 of 1898


  • Chapter I
  • Chapter II
  • Chapter III
  • Chapter IV
  • Chapter V
  • Chapter VI
  • Chapter VII
  • Chapter VIII
  • Chapter IX
  • Chapter X
  • Chapter XI
  • Schedules
  • Act nº 6 of 1898

Preamble

THE INDIAN POST OFFICE ACT, 1898

[Act, No. 6 of 1898]1

[22nd March, 1898]

PREAMBLE

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the Post Offices in India.

Whereas it is expedient to consolidate and amend the law relating to the Post Offices in India; It is hereby enacted as follows:--

1. Amended in its application to--

(1) the excluded and partially excluded areas in Assam by Assam Regulations 2 of 1941 and 1 of 1942 Respecitvely;

(2) the partially excluded areas in Bihar by Bihar Regulation 3 of 1942;

(3) the partially excluded areas in C.P. and Berar by C.P. abd Berar Regulation 1 of 1942;

(4) the partially excluded areas in Orissa by Orissa Regulation 1 of 1942;

(5) the Partially excluded areas in U.P. by U.P. Regulation 2 of 1942; and

(6) the Darjeeling district by Bengal Regulation 7 of 1942.


Chapter I

Section 1. Short title, extent, application and commencement

(1) This Act may be called the Indian Post Office Act, 1898.

1[(2) It extends to the whole of India2[* * *] and it applies also to all citizens of India outside India,]

(3) It shall come into force on the first day of July, 1898.

1. Substituted by the A.O. 1950.

2. The words "except Part BStates" rep. by Act 25 of 1950, sec. 11 and Schedule. IV.


Section 2. Definitions

In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,--

(a) the expression "Director General" means the Director General of1[Posts and Telegraphs]:

(b) the expression "inland", used in relation to a postal article, means--

(i) posted in2[India] and addressed to any place in3[India] or to any place for which a post office is established by the4[Central Government]5[* * *] beyond the limits of6[India]; or

(ii) posted at any post office established by the7[Central Government]8[* * *] beyond the limits of2[India] and addressed to any place for which any such post office is established or to any place in9[India]:

10[Provided that the expression "inland" shall not apply to any class of postal articles which may be specified in this behalf by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette, when posted in or at or addressed to any places of post offices which may be described in such notification :]

(c) the expression "mail bag" includes a bag, box, parcel or any other envelope or covering in which postal articles in course of transmission by post are conveyed, whether it does or does not contain any such article;

(d) the expression "mail ship" means a ship employed for carrying mails, pursuant to contract or continuing arrangement, by the Central Government or Her Majesty's Government or the Government of any British possession or foreign country;

(e) the expression "officer of the Post Office" includes any person employed in any business of the Post office or on behalf of the Post Office;

(f) the expression "postage" means the duty chargeable for the transmission by post of postal articles;

(g) the expression "postage stamp" means any stamp provided by the Central Government for denoting postage or other fees or sums payable in respect of postal articles under this Act, and includes adhesive postage stamps and stamps printed, embossed, impressed or otherwise indicated on any envelope, wrapper, postcard or other article;

(h) the expression "Post Office" includes every house, building, room, carriage or place used for the purposes of the Post Office, and every letter-box provided by the Post Office for the reception of postal articles;

(i) the expression "postal article" includes a letter, postcard, newspaper, book, pattern or sample packet, parcel and every article or thing transmissible by post;

(j) the expression "Post Master General" includes a Deputy Post Master General or other officer exercising the powers of a Post Master General; and

(k) the expression "Post Office" means the department,11[established for the purposes of carrying the provisions of this Act into effect and] presided over by the Director General.

12[* * *]

1. Substituted by Act 14 of 1914, section. 3, for "the Post Office of India".

2. Substituted by Act 25 of 1950, section. 11 and Schedule. IV, for "the States".

3. Substituted by Act 25 of 1950, section. 11 and Schedule. IV, for "the States".

4. Substituted by the A.O. 1937, for the G.G. in C.".

5. The words "or the Crown Representative" omitted by the A.O. 1948.

6. Substituted by Act 25 of 1950, section. 11 and Schedule. IV, for "the States".

7. Substituted by A.O. 1937, for "the G.G. in C.".

8. The words "or the Crown Representative" omitted by the A.O. 1948.

9. Substituted by Act 25 of 1950, section. 11 and Schedule. IV, for "the States".

10. Inserted by Act 2 of 1903, section.2.

11. Inserted by Act 14 of 1914, section. 3.

12. CI. (1), Inserted by the A.O. 1950 omitted by Act 25 of 1950, section. 11 and Schedule. IV.


Section 3. Meanings of "in course of transmission by post" and "delivery"

For the purposes of this Act,--

(a) a postal article shall be deemed to be in course of transmission by the post from the time of its being delivered to a post office to the time of its being delivered to the addressee or of its being returned to the sender or otherwise disposed of under Chapter VII;

(b) the delivery of a postal article of any description to a postman or other person authorized to receive postal articles of that description for the post shall be deemed to be a delivery to a post office; and

(c) the delivery of a postal article at the house or office of the addressee, or to the addressee or his servant or agent or other person considered to be authorized to receive the article according to the usual manner of delivering postal articles to the addressee, shall be deemed to be delivery to the addressee.

Chapter II

Section 4. Exclusive privilege of conveying letters reserved to the Government

(1) Wherever within1[India] posts or postal communications are established by the Central Government, the Central Government shall have the exclusive privilege of conveying by post, from one place to another, all letters except in the following cases, and shall also have the exclusive privilege of performing all the incidental services of receiving, collecting, sending, despatching and delivering all letters, except in the following cases that is to say:--

(a) letters sent by a private friend in his way, journey or travel, to be delivered by him to the person to whom they are directed, without hire, reward or other profit or advantages for receiving, carrying or delivering them;

(b) letters solely concerning the affairs of the sender or receiver thereof, sent by a messenger on purpose; and

(c) letters solely concerning goods or property, sent either by sea or by land to be delivered with the goods or property which the letters concern, without hire, reward or other profit or advantage for receiving, carrying or delivering them:

Provided that nothing in this section shall authorize any person to make a collection of letters expected as aforesaid for the purpose of sending them otherwise than by post.

(2) For the purposes of this section and section 5, the expression "letters" includes postcards.

1. Substituted by Act 25 of 1950, section. 11 and Schedule. IV; for "the States".


Section 5. Certain persons expressly forbidden to convey letters

Wherever within1[India] posts or postal communications are established by the Central Government, the following persons are expressly forbidden to collect, carry, tenderer deliver letters, or to receive letters for the purpose of carrying or delivering them, although they obtain no hire, reward or other profit or advantage for so doing, that is to say:--

(a) common carriers of passengers or goods, and their servants or agents, except as regards letters solely concerning goods in their carts or carriages; and

(b) owners and masters of vessels sailing orpassing on any river or canal in1[India], or between any ports or places in1[India], and their servants or agents, except as regards letters solely concerning goods on board, and except as regards postal articles received for conveyance under Chapter VIII.

1. Substituted by Act 25 of 1950, section. 11 and Schedule. IV; for "the States".


Section 6. Exemption from liability for loss, misdelivery, delay or damage

The1[Government] shall not incur any liability by reason of the loss, misdelivery or delay of, or damage to, any postal article in course of transmission by post, except in so far as such liability may in express terms by undertaken by the Central Government as hereinafter provided; and no officer of the Post Office shall incur any liability by reason of any such loss, misdelivery, delay or damage, unless he has caused the same fraudulently or by his willful act or default.

1. Substituted by the A.O. 1950, for "Crown" which was subs. by the A.O. 1957, for "the Secretary of State for India in Council".


Chapter III

Section 7. Power to fix rates of inland postage

(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, fix the rates of postage and other sums to be charged in respect of postal articles sent by the inland post under this Act, and may make rules as to the scale of weights, terms and conditions subject to which the rates so fixed shall be charged:

Provided that the highest rate of postage, when prepaid, shall not exceed the rate set forth for each class of postal articles in the First Schedule.

(2) Unless and until such notification as aforesaid is issued, the rates set forth in the said Schedule shall be the rates chargeable under this Act.

(3) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare what packets may be sent by the inland post as book, pattern and sample packets within the meaning of this Act.

Section 8. Power to make rules as to payment of postage and fees in certain cases

The Central Government may, by rule,--

(a) require the prepayment of postage on inland postal articles or any class of inland postal articles, and prescribe the manner in which prepayment shall be made;

(b) prescribe the postage to be charged on inland postal articles when the postage is not prepaid or is insufficiently prepaid;

(c) provide for the redirection of postal articles and the transmission by post of articles so redirected, either free of charge or subject to such further charge as may be specified in the rules; and

(d) prescribe the fees to be charged for the "express delivery" of postal articles, in addition to, or instead of, any other postage chargeable thereon under this Act.

Explanation.--"Express delivery" means delivery by a special messenger or conveyance.

Section 9. Power to make rules as to registered newspapers

(1) The Central Government may make rules providing for the registration of newspapers for transmission by inland post as registered newspapers.

(2) For the purpose of such registration, every publication, consisting wholly or in great part of political or other news, or of articles relating thereto or to other current topics, with or with out advertisements, shall be deemed a newspaper, subject to the following conditions, namely:--

(a) that it is published in numbers at intervals of not more than thirty-one days; and

(b) that it has a bonafide list of subscribers.

(3) An extra or supplement to a newspaper, bearing the same date as the newspaper and transmitted therewith, shall be deemed to be part of the newspaper:

Provided that no such extra or supplement shall be so deemed unless it consists wholly or in great part of matter like that of the newspaper and has the title and date of publication of the newspaper printed at the top of each page.

Explanation.--Nothing in this section or in the rules thereunder shall be construed to render it compulsory to send newspapers by the inland post.

Section 10. Power to declare rates of foreign postage

(1) Where arrangements are in force with the United Kingdom, or with any British possession or foreign country, for the transmission by post of postal articles between1[India] and the United Kingdom or such possession or country, the Central Government may, in conformity with the provisions of such arrangements, declare what postage rates and other sums shall be charged in respect of such postal articles, and may make rules as to the scale of weight, terms and conditions subject to which the rates so declared shall be charged.

(2) Unless and until such declaration as aforesaid is made, the existing rates and regulations shall continue in force.

1. Substituted by Act 25 of 1950, sec. 11 and Sch. IV; for "the States".


Section 11. Liability for payment of postage

(1) The addressee of a postal article on which postage or any other sum chargeable under this Act is due, shall be bound to pay the postage or sum so chargeable on his accepting delivery of the postal article, unless he forthwith returns it unopened:

Provided that, if any such postal article appears to the satisfaction of the Post Master General to have been maliciously sent for the purpose of annoying the addressee, he may remit the postage.

(2) If any postal article on which postage or any other sum chargeable under this Act is due, is refused or returned as aforesaid, or if the addressee is dead or cannot be found, then the sender shall be bound to pay the postage or sum due thereon under this Act.