India Post Employees Will Be Allowed To Open, Check & Detain Parcels Under Revamped Indian Post Office Act


Rohit Kulkarni

Rohit Kulkarni

Aug 21, 2023


The proposed revision of the Indian Post Office Act by the Union government will grant employees the authority to open postal parcels for reasons related to national security or public security, and it will also empower officers to redirect these parcels to relevant authorities if there is a suspicion of duty evasion. As reported by The Hindu Businessline, these provisions are a component of the Post Office Bill, 2023, which was recently introduced in the Rajya Sabha during the just-concluded monsoon session. This bill seeks to replace the Indian Post Office Act of 1898, which originated during the colonial era, and it aims to “consolidate and amend the regulations concerning the Post Office in India.”

India Post Employees Will Be Allowed To Open, Check & Detain  Parcels Under Revamped Indian Post Office Act

Empowering Authorities: New Bill Grants Postal Officers Enhanced Powers for Item Handling

The report further notes that the Bill bestows the power to “intercept, open, or detain any item or deliver” it to customs authorities. According to one provision, the Central Government can authorize any officer, through official notification, to intercept, open, or detain postal items in cases concerning state security, international relations, public order, emergencies, public safety, or violations of this Act or other existing laws.

In cases of suspected duty evasion or when items are prohibited by law, a postal officer will also have the authority to deliver an item received from either domestic or international sources to customs or the relevant authority. These authorities will handle such items in alignment with legal provisions, as outlined in the Businessline report.

Liability and Charges in Focus: New Bill Impacts Post Office Services and Operations

Additionally, the bill includes a provision that exempts both the Post Office and its officers from liability for any loss, misdelivery, delay, or damage that occurs during service provision. The Bill specifies that Post Office officers would only be held liable if they acted fraudulently or intentionally caused loss, delay, or misdelivery.

The bill also emphasizes the responsibility of individuals utilizing Post Office services to pay the associated charges. Refusal or neglect to pay these charges would result in the amount being recoverable in a manner similar to the collection of overdue land revenue.

As indicated by Businessline, the bill confirms that post offices would have the exclusive privilege of issuing postage stamps.


Rohit Kulkarni
Rohit Kulkarni
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