On 29-12-2023, the President has given assent to the Press and Registration of Periodicals Act, 2023. The Act repeals the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.

Key Points:

  1. The owner of the printing press will have to furnish an intimation in the online portal to the Press Registrar General and the specified authority within whose local jurisdiction his printing press is situated.
  2. Any citizen of India can publish periodicals if that person has not been convicted by any court for an offence involving terrorism, unlawful activity or for having done anything done against the security of the country.
  3. The Press Registrar General (‘PR General’) and other officers will be appointed by the Central Government and the officers will be under the superintendence and control of the PR General.
  4. Functions of PR General:

    • issue a certificate of registration to a periodical;
    • maintain a register of registered periodicals;
    • make guidelines for admissibility and availability of title of a periodical;
    • collect fees, as may be applicable, with regard to applications received by him under this Act;
    • receive funds from the Central Government and disburse the same for implementation of the provisions of this Act;
    • prepare and publish an annual report containing information in respect of the periodicals in India;
  5. Powers of PR General:

    • obtain annual statements of a periodical;
    • revise, suspend or cancel registration of a periodical;
    • requisition the services of an authorised person and such other person as may be specified by him for undertaking verification of circulation figure of a periodical.
    • call for records, documents and such other information in respect of a printing press or a periodical as may be required in discharge of his duties;
    • call for information from a State Government or Union territory Administration or a specified authority regarding a periodical; and
    • impose penalty.
  6. Registration of Periodical:

    • It will be printed/ published in India only.
    • Every publisher needs to obtain certification from the PR General by making an online application.
    • The application should contain title of the periodical (one or more names for the title), in order of preference.
    • On receipt of certificate, the publisher can commence the publication of the periodical.
  7. Transfer of ownership of a periodical:

    • The owner of the periodical will have to apply for a transfer of its ownership to the PR General by furnishing such documents, setting forth such particulars and on payment of such fee.
    • If the PR General is satisfied with its correctness and completeness, he can permit the transfer of ownership of that periodical.
    • On getting permission the owner will have to forward the copy to the publisher.
    • The owner of a periodical will have to intimate any change in the shareholding pattern of his company within 15 days of such change being informed by him to the Registrar of Companies.
  8. In case of discontinuation of the periodical, it has to be intimated to the PR General within 6 months of discontinuation and on such request, the PR General will remove the periodical and its title from the register.
  9. The PR General can suspend the certificate for a period not less than 30 days but not exceeding 180 days.
  10. The PR General can impose penalties if-
    • a periodical is published without obtaining a certificate of registration of an amount not exceeding Rs. 5 Lakhs with a direction to the publisher to cease the publication of such periodical.
    • the publisher fails to furnish the annual statement then the penalty will not be less than Rs. 10,000 but not exceeding Rs. 20,000 for the first default and in case of subsequent default, the penalty will not exceed Rs. 2 Lakhs.
  11. Press and Registration Appellate Board- will consist of Chairperson, Press Council of India and 2 members will be nominated by the Press Council of India.

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