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New Delhi, Dec 5 – The Rajya Sabha on Monday, the first day of the Winter session, passed the Post Office Bill, 2023 which seeks to consolidate and amend the law relating to the Post Office in India.

The Bill was passed in the Upper House by voice vote.

The Post Office Bill seeks to repeal the 125-year-old Indian Post Office Act.

As per the Bill, the central government may, by notification, empower any officer to cause any item in course of transmission by the Post Office to be intercepted, opened or detained 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 this Act or any other law for the time being in force.

Replying to the discussion on the Bill, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that it is very important that the provision of interception is kept in the law keeping in mind the national security.

The Minister said that 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.

“…the way constitutional provisions are framed where a rider is given but there are certain carve-outs out of it. Similarly, in this law, very clearly laid out procedures, very clearly laid-out carve-outs have been kept in the law. Many hon’ble members said that what procedure will be followed for interception.

I would like to inform all the members that interception is something which has been there in the previous Act for ages, for many decades and the procedure has also been very established. As and when we frame the Rules, the Rules will be laid before the Parliament and the procedure for interception will be introduced through the Rule. It will be very fair and transparent. There is absolutely no need to worry about it,” he said.

The Minister explained the provisions of the draft legislation and allayed fears of some members that the government has plans to privatise post office.

The Post Office Bill, 2023 had been introduced in the Rajya Sabha during Monsoon session of the Parliament.