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The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1987

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The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1987 - October 29th, 2010

The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1987

The publication of newspapers is regulated primarily by the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. The Act seeks to regulate the operation of printing presses and newspapers and registration and preservation of copies of such newspapers. The following are its main features:-
Section 3 of the Act requires every book or paper printed within India to have the name of the printer and the place of printing, the name of the publisher and the place of publishing printed legibly on it.
Section 4 of the Act stipulates that the keeper of the printing press (someone who possesses a press that prints newspapers/books) has to make and subscribe a declaration before the District, Presidency or sub-divisional Magistrate within whose local jurisdiction such a press is. A new declaration is to be made when the place where a press is kept is changed.

No new declaration is necessary when:-
1) The change is for a period not exceeding 60 days
2) The place where the press is kept after change is within the local jurisdiction of the Magistrate

Section 6 of the Act requires two originals of the declaration to be authenticated by the Magistrate. Any person who wishes to see the declaration can do so, by obtaining a copy of the declaration (attested by the Seal of Court) from the officer in-charge.

According to Section 7, in any legal proceeding, civil or criminal, the copy of the above mentioned declaration can be held as sufficient evidence against the person whose name is subscribed to it.

Section 8 requires a new declaration by persons who have previously signed a declaration and have ceased to printers or publishers. It is also to be authenticated by a magistrate. It must be also kept in mind that the latter declaration shall be held as evidence (as in Section 7) over a former declaration in legal proceedings.

Under Section 8A of the Act, if a person’s name is published incorrectly as the editor he may make a declaration that says so within two weeks of him/her realising that his/her name is published. The person must appear before the District, Presidency or sub-divisional Magistrate, and if the magistrate is satisfied that the declaration is true on making an enquiry he/she shall certify accordingly.

Section 8B provides for the cancellation of the declaration if the Magistrate is of the opinion that any declaration made in respect of a newspaper should be cancelled; an opportunity must be given to the concerned person to show cause against the action taken.
A cancellation is ordered under the following circumstances:
1) the newspaper is published in contravention of the Act
2) the newspaper has the same/ similar title to another newspaper of the same language or in the same state
3) the printer or publisher has ceased to be so
4) the declaration was made on false representation or on the concealment of any material

It is possible to appeal against the order of the Magistrate. The aggrieved person must appeal to the Press and Registration Appellate Board (which consists of a Chairman and a member appointed by the Press Council of India) within sixty days of the cancellation of the declaration.

Section 5 lays down the following rules for newspapers published in India:-

1) Every copy must have the names of the publisher and the editor along with the date of publication
printed clearly on it.

2) The printer and the publisher of the newspaper must appear in person or by an authorised agent before
a District, Presidency or Sub-divisional Magistrate within whose local jurisdiction the newspaper is published
to make a declaration.

3) The declaration must specify the title, the language and the periodicity of the newspaper

4) If the printer or the publisher is not the owner of the publication then the declaration must specify the
name of the owner and an authority in writing from the owner authorising the printer/publisher to make the

5) A new declaration must be made if the title, periodicity or language of the newspaper change

6) A new declaration is also to be made when the owner of the newspaper or the place of
printing/publishing is changed

7) When a printer/publisher concerned with the declaration leaves India or is incapable of rendering his/her duties for more than 90 days, a new declaration is to be made

8) A declaration is considered void when the newspaper does not commence publication

i) Within 6 weeks of the authentication of the declaration for a weekly (or more often published

ii) Within 3 months of authentication for any other newspaper

9) A declaration ceases to have effect when a daily, tri-weekly, bi-weekly weekly or fortnightly publishes half the number of issues it is supposed to in a period of 3 months; the same happens for any other newspaper if it has ceased publication for more than 12 months

Section 9 of the Act explains rules regarding the delivery of books. Printed copies of the whole book along with the maps, prints and other engravings belonging to the book must be delivered by the printer for free of expense to the Government.

a) Every book must be delivered to the State Government within one calendar month after the book is delivered out of the press

b) The State Government can require from the printer not more than two copies one calendar year after the day in (a)

Under Section 11, the State Government shall transmit the copy of the book mentioned in Section 9 Clause (b) to the Central Government. Section 11A requires the publisher of every newspaper in India to deliver one copy of every issue to the Press Registrar as soon as it published.

Section 18 of the Act calls for the maintaining of a catalogue of all books delivered to the Government called the Memoranda of Books. It is to be maintained by an officer the State Govt appoints.

The memoranda should contain the following particulars:-

1) The title of the book, the contents of the title page (with the translation of the title and contents in English if it is any other language)

2) The language in which it is written
3) Name of the author, translator and editor

4) The subject

5) Place of printing and place of publishing

6) Name of the firm of the printer and publisher

7) Date of issue from the press

8) Number of sheets/leaves/pages

9) The size

10) The edition

11) The Price

12) The number of copies of an edition

13) Whether printed/cyclostyled or lithographed

14) The name and residence of the proprietor or the copyright

Section 19A provides for the appointment of the Press Registrar and other officers (like the Registrar of Newspapers) by the Central Government.

The Press Registrar shall maintain a register of newspapers that will contain the following particulars of all newspapers:-
1) The title

2) The language

3) The periodicity of publication

4) Names of the editors, publisher and printer

5) Average number of pages per week

6) Number of days of publication in a year

7) Retail selling price per copy

8) Average number of copies printed, sold to the public and distributed for free

9) The name and address of the owner

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