Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill


Recently, Lok Sabha passed the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill.


GS-02 (Government policies and interventions)

Main highlights of the Bill:

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, repealing the colonial era law of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.
  • The Bill has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha in the Monsoon Session.
  • The new bill makes the process of allotment of titles and registration of periodicals simple and simultaneous, through an online system without the requirement of any physical interface.
  • This would enable the Press Registrar General to fast-track the process, thereby ensuring that publishers, especially small and medium publishers, face little difficulty in starting a publication.
  • Notably, the publishers would no longer be required to file a declaration with the District Magistrates or the local authorities and get such declarations authenticated.
  • Additionally, printing presses would also not be required to furnish any such declaration; instead, only an intimation would be enough.
  • Statute has been substantially decriminalized as against the PRB Act 1867 which had severe penalties leading to conviction and imprisonment up to 6 months for various violations of the Act.
  • In the 2023 Bill, punishment of jail up to six months is envisaged only in the extreme cases where a periodical is published without a Certificate of Registration and the publisher fails to cease the printing of such publication even after six months of direction has been issued to that effect by the Press Registrar General.
  • The PRP Bill 2023 empowers the Press Registrar General to suspend/cancel the Certificate of Registration.
  • In the old law, only the DM could cancel the declaration of a periodical.
  • Books which were part of the PRB Act 1867 have been taken away from the purview of the PRP Bill 2023, as books as a subject are administered by the Ministry of HRD