Topic: Statement of Objects And Reasons

The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 was enacted for the regulation of
Printing presses and Newspapers for the preservation of copies of books and newspapers
printed in India, and for the registration of such books and newspapers. Though the aforesaid
Act has been amended several times between 1870 and 1983, the existing provisions of the
Act are not adequate to cater to the phenomenal growth of the print media sector in view of
the liberalised policy of the Government.
2. The Print Media Policy of 1955, inter alia, provides that—(i) no foreign owned
newspapers and periodicals should be published in India; (ii) the foreign newspapers and
periodicals dealing mainly with news and current affairs should not be allowed to bring out
Indian editions. The aforesaid Policy of 1955 was reviewed, from time to time, and as on date
it, inter alia, allows—
(a) the foreign direct investment up to a ceiling of twenty-six per cent. of paid up
equity capital in Indian entities publishing newspapers and periodicals dealing with
news and current affairs and hundred per cent., in the scientific, technical and specialty
category subject to certain conditions;
(b) the publication of facsimile editions, in whole or in part, of foreign newspapers
by Indian entities, with or without foreign investment, and also by foreign companies
owning the original newspaper;
(c) the publication of Indian editions of foreign scientific, technical, specialty
and news and current affairs magazines, periodicals and journals.
3. In view of the liberalised policy of the Government, the Print Media has not only
attracted the foreign direct investment but also led to a phenomenal increase in the availability
of the foreign scientific and technical magazines in India. The Print Media Policy of 1955,
which so far prohibited bringing out of foreign publications in India, has since been reviewed
from time to time and the issues of foreign direct investment, facsimile editions, Indian
edition of foreign newspapers, syndication, etc., are now being regulated through executive
orders which needs to be supported with the statutory provisions to elicit optimum results
and hassle free entry of foreign publications. Thus, in order to give statutory backing to the
Print Media Policy and various guidelines, it is proposed to enact a new legislation to amend
and consolidate the laws relating to press and registration of books and publications.
4. The proposed Press and Registration of Books and Publications Bill, 2011, inter
alia, makes the following, namely:—
(a) every book or publication printed within India shall have legibly printed on it
the date of its publication, name of the owner, printer, publisher, editor and complete
address of place of printing and the publication;
(b) every person who owns and operates any press for the printing of books or
publications shall make and subscribe a declaration in such form as may be prescribed
before the specified authority within whose local jurisdiction such press is kept;
(c) a person, being an entity incorporated and registered in India under any law
for the time being in force, or a citizen of India, may bring out a publication, but a
person who has been convicted by any court for an offence involving terrorist act or
unlawful activity or for having done anything against the security of the State shall
not bring out a publication;
(d) the owner of any proposed publication may make an application proposing
one or more titles, not exceeding five, in order of preference to the specified authority
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for verification of one of titles of the publication and the specified authority may after
verification of antecedents of the applicant and after satisfying himself about the
eligibility of such applicant, within a period of three months, recommend or reject the
application;
(e) the Press Registrar General, on receipt of the recommendation from the specified
authority shall, in writing and in such manner as may be prescribed, approve one of the title
and it may reject all the proposed titles if such titles are– (i) the same or similar to that of any
existing publication, except in the case of publications owned by the same person; or (ii)
obscene; or (iii) similar to name of symbols of terrorists or terrorist organisations either in full
or in abbreviated form; or (iv) same or similar to that of a known foreign publication;
(f) the printer and the publisher of every publication shall appear in person or by agent
authorised in this behalf before a specified authority within whose local jurisdiction such
publication shall be printed or published, and make and subscribe a declaration in duplicate
in the prescribed form;
(g) no person, who does not ordinarily reside in India, or who has not attained the
majority in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Majority Act, 1875 or of any law for
the time being in force to which he is subject in respect of the attainment of majority, shall be
permitted to make a declaration or edit a publication;
(h) no publication shall be printed and published in India except with the prior approval
of the Central Government, if—
(i) such publication is owned by any individual who is not an Indian citizen or
unincorporated body of individuals or body corporate incorporated under the law of
any country other than India; or
(ii) its title is same or similar to a known foreign publication; or
(iii) its foreign news content in an issue of an Indian publication exceeds the
limit prescribed for such publication; or
(iv) such publication has investment from any individual who is not an Indian
citizen or unincorporated body of individuals or body corporate incorporated under
the law of any country other than India; or
(v) it is a facsimile edition of a known foreign publication;
(i) any person aggrieved by an order of a specified authority refusing to authenticate
a declaration or cancelling a declaration may prefer an appeal to the Press and Registration
Appellate Board, to be constituted by the Central Government, consisting of a Chairperson
and a member, to be nominated by the Press Council of India from among its members;
(j) the publisher of every publication shall furnish to the Press Registrar General the
returns, statistics and other information with respect to any specified particulars;
(k) it also provides for offences, punishment and penalties for contravention of the
provisions of the proposed legislation.
5. The notes on clauses explain in detail various provisions of the Bill.
6. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objectives.