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Bills cleared to revitalise post offices, repeal obsolete laws

NEW DELHI : Two crucial Bills were passed in Parliament on Monday—the Post Office Bill, 2023 in the Rajya Sabha, and the Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the lower house.

The Post Office Bill will repeal the 125-year-old The Indian Post Office Act, 1898, and is meant to revive post offices and postal institutions. Significantly, the new legislation will allow the government to empower officers with powers to intercept, open or detain any item and deliver them to customs authorities.

As for the Advocates (Amendment) Bill, passed in the Lok Sabha during the first day of the winter session, the Union government plans to use it repeal “all obsolete laws or pre-independence Acts” that have lost their utility.

This bill, which seeks to amend the Advocates Act, 1961, was passed by the Rajya Sabha in August.

With the Post Office Bill, 2023, the government is looking to transform post offices into a network for delivery of citizen-centric services.

As for the provision to allow officers to intercept items, Ashwini Vaishnaw, minister for communications, electronics and IT, told Parliament it was in the interest of national security.

“In a society which is as complex and diverse, and times which are as difficult as they are, it is very important that interception is done. This kind of a provision is kept for national security,” he said during discussions on the bill in the Rajya Sabha.

There is no provision to privatise post offices, he added.

The Bill will empower the director general of postal services to frame regulations.

“The Central Government may, by notification, authorise, either absolutely or subject to conditions, the Director General to exercise any of the powers conferred upon the Central Government by this Act, other than the power to make rules,” states the Post Office Bill, 2023.

The Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session of Parliament. It will now have to be passed in the Lok Sabha and get the President’s nod before becoming a law.

The Central Universities Amendment Bill, 2023, which will amend the Central Universities Act of 2009, was also introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

This amendment was approved by the Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October.

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Updated: 04 Dec 2023, 08:37 PM IST

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