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The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867


1. Introduction: It was found necessary to establish a system of compulsory sale to Government, of three copies of each work in India. To achieve this purpose a Bill was introduced in the Legislature for the regulation of printing presses and newspaper for the preservation of copies of books and periodicals containing news printed in the whole of India and for the registration of such books and periodicals containing news.

2. The Press and Registration of Books Act (1867):   The Press and Registration of Books Act (PRBA) was passed by the Legislature for the British India and it came on the statute book as the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 (25 of 1867). The nomenclature of the Act has been given by the Indian Short Titles Act, 1897 (14 of 1897). PRBA provides compulsory deposit of one copy to state governments.

3. Penalty: Whoever shall print or publish any book or paper otherwise than in conformity with the rule contained in section 3 of the PRB Act, shall, on conviction before a Magistrate, be punished by fine not exceeding two thousand rupees, or by simple imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or by both.

4. Registrar of Newspapers for India: Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) is a statutory body of Government of India for newspapers in India. It was established on 1 July 1956, on the recommendation of the First Press Commission in 1953 and by amending the Press and Registration of Books Act 1867. The Office of the Registrar of Newspapers for India is headquartered in New Delhi, and has three regional offices at Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. RNI regulates and monitors printing and publication of newspapers based on the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 and the Registration of Newspapers (Central) Rules, 1956.

5. State Intake on PRBA: The PRB Act is enforced by state government. PRBA provides compulsory deposit of one copy to state governments. The number of copies can be increased by state government in public library acts. Under this PRB Act, the state government can get 3-5 copies of each publication.
The amendment in PRBA has been made in Tamilnadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Manipur and Bihar to increase number of copies for submission. Other Public Library Acts (PLA) have not amended in it and require only 1 copy as per PRB Act, 1867.

6. Conclusion: The Press and Registration of Books Act was 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. It helped some specific libraries to get some copies of books free of cost and to maintain a continuous catalogue of early printed books in the country. In terms of this Act, the publisher or the printer of every book or newspaper was to send a copy of the book or newspaper to the Secretary of state for India, another copy to the Governor General in Council and still another to the local government.

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