Parliament Winter Session: On the first day of the Winter Session of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the 'Post Office Bill, 2023' that seeks to repeal the 125-year-old Indian Post Office Act. It also seeks to consolidate and amend the law related to the post offices in the country.
Some questions were also raised by Opposition members regarding some provisions of the bill, asking if the government wanted to create a "surveillance state." However, the government rejected the apprehensions of the members. Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan said provisions have been made for reasons of national security and there were similar provisions in the previous version of the Post Office Bill too.
The bill was passed by a voice vote after a reply by the Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw. "This new legislation is a reflection of the way post offices and postal institutions have been revived in the last nine years," the minister said.
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".
Know about the Post Office Bill 2023
The bill provides that the Post Office shall provide such services as the Central Government may by rules prescribe and the Director General of Postal Services shall make regulations in respect of activities necessary to provide those services and fix the charges for such services.
The bill provides India Post will not incur any liability with regards to its services, except any liability prescribed through rules.
The enactment of a new law 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 the delivery of citizen-centric services. The bill also 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.
Parliament Winter Session
It should be mentioned here that this is the last full session ahead of next year's general elections and the BJP would like to clear all pending legislations during the Winter Session. Among the bills pending before the Parliament include the new bills to replace the IPC, Criminal Penal Code and the Evidence Act besides the bill on appointment of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners.
(With inputs from agencies)