POST OFFICE ORDINANCE

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Presumptions as to delivery of postal articles.

PRIVILEGE AND PROTECTION OF THE GOVERNMENT

3. Establishment of post offices.

4. Monopoly of carriage of letters.

5. Definitions for purposes of sections 3 and 4.

6. Government protected from liability for losses not caused by wilful act or default.

POSTAGE

7. Power to fix rates of potage.

8. Power to make rules.

9. Power to make rules for transmission of registered newspapers.

10. Arrangements with other countries for the transmission of postal articles.

11. Payment of surcharged postage on insufficiently stamped articles.

12. Enforcement of Payment of postage.

13. Recovery of customs duty by the post office.

14. Rules of evidence.

15. Further rules of evidence.

POSTAGE STAMPS

16. Provision of postage stamps and power to make rules as to them.

17. Postage stamps protected by Penal Code.

CONDITIONS OF TRANSMISSION AND DELIVERY OF POSTAL ARTICLES

18. Redelivery to sender of postal article in course of transmission.

19. Transmission by post of injurious, filthy and noxious articles prohibited by post.

20. Transmission by post of anything indecent prohibited.

21. Power to make rules as to transmission by post and delivery of postal articles.

22. Delivery of letters to take precedence over delivery of other postal articles.

23. Power to deal with articles posted in contravention of this Ordinance.

24. Examination of postal articles received from beyond seas for the purpose of customs duties.

25. In public emergencies the Minister may direct the interception of any postal article.

26. Use of fictitious and previously used stamps prohibited.

REGISTRATION, INSURANCE AND VALUE-PAYABLE POST

27. Registration of postal articles.

28. Power to make rules as to registration.

29. Insurance of postal articles.

30. Insurance when to be compulsory.

31. Power to make rules as to insurance.

32. Government to be liable for the amount insured.

33. Compensation may be paid on uninsured articles.

34. Combined rates for postage, registration, and insurance.

35. Value-payable postal articles.

36. Power to make rules as to value-payable postal articles.

UNDELIVERED POSTAL ARTICLES

37. Power to make rules as to postal articles which cannot be delivered.

38. Postal article addressed to any person at any bank, shipping office deemed to be under control of Postmaster-General until delivered to addressee.

39. Postal articles addressed to any person at any bank if not delivered to addressee to be returned to nearest post office.

POSTAL ARTICLES ON SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT

40. Postal articles on ships or aircraft.

41. Customs officer may seize mail bags in respect of which the law has been infringed.

42. Master of vessel to give notice of his intended departure.

43. Master of ship bound to receive and convey mail bag tendered to him by officer of the post office.

44. Gratuities to be given for the conveyance of mails.

MONEY AND POSTAL ORDERS

45. Issue and payment of money orders.

46. Power for remitter to recall money order or alter name of payee.

47. Issue of postal orders.

48. Moneys paid in error may be recovered.

49. Matters in respect of which no suit lies against the Government or any officer of the post office.

50. Money and postal orders to be deemed valuable securities for the purposes of the Penal Code.

51. Vehicles used for the purposes of the post office immune from taxation.

51A. Official inscription on mail bags.

PENALTIES AND PROCEDURE; OFFENCES BY OFFICERS OF THE POST OFFICE

52. Offences by persons employed to carry or deliver any mail bag or postal article.

53. Person employed to carry or deliver any mail bag or postal article prohibited from withdrawing from duties without notice.

54. Punishment of person employed to carry or deliver any postal article for making false entry.

55. Theft by officer of the post office.

56. Unlawful opening and detention of postal articles by officer of the post office.

57. Offences in respect of official marks.

58. Fraudulently altering or destroying a document.

59. Reissuing a postal order previously paid.

60. Defrauding Government of postage.

OTHER OFFENCES

61. Other offences.

62. Enhanced punishment on person previously convicted.

63. Carrying letters in contravention of section 4 an offence.

64. Offences by vendors of postage stamps.

65. Punishment for offences in contravention of sections 19 and 20.

66. Offences relating to letter-boxes.

67. Punishment for disfiguring a post office or letter-box.

68. Punishment for making false declarations.

69. Offences by masters of ships and pilots in charge of aircraft.

70. Punishment of master for retaining postal articles.

71. Punishment for wrongful detention of mails.

72. Punishment for fraudulent retention of or refusal to deliver postal articles.

73. Offences by licensees banks.

74. Punishment for unlawfully opening letters.

75. Punishment for unlawfully disclosing contents of a postal article.

76. Manufacture and unlawful possession of fictitious.

76A. Punishment for making without lawful authority the official inscription on any mail bag.

76B. Punishment for alteration, defacement or obliteration of, or causing to disappear, the official inscription on any mail bag.

76C. Punishment for receiving, possessing, keeping, selling or delivering, without lawful excuse, any mail bag bearing official inscription.

77. Power of Postmaster-General to compound certain offences.

78. Punishment for receiving, possessing, keeping, selling or delivering, without lawful excuse, any mail bag bearing official inscription.

79. Punishment of abetment of offences.

80. Description of postal articles in criminal charges.

81. Penalty for breach of rules.

82. Trial of offences.

GENERAL

83. Officers of post office to be exempt from serving on any Jury.

84. Officers of the post office prohibited from taking postal contracts and from collecting postage stamps.

85. Minister may delegate certain Postmaster-General.

86. Further power Minister to make rules.

87. Omitted.

88. Interpretation.

11 of 1908,

24 of 1912,

26 of 1914,

20 of 1917,

14 of 1926,

27 of 1932,

5 of 1933,

30 of 1933,

35 of 1933,

21 of 1934,

12 of 1936,

37 of 1938,

65 of 1938,

6 of 1940,

18 of 1941,

61 of 1946,

6 of 1973,

31 of 1955,

24 of 1957.

AN ORDINANCE to amend and consolidate the law relating to the Post Office in Sri Lanka.

[Date of Commencement: 1st January, 1909]

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Post Office Ordinance.

2. Presumptions as to delivery of postal articles.

For the purposes of this Ordinance—

(a) a postal article shall be deemed to be in course of transmission by post from the time of its being delivered to a post office to the time of its being delivered to the addressee, or of its being returned to the sender or otherwise disposed of under section 37;

(b) the delivery of a postal article of any description to an officer of the post office authorised to receive postal articles of that description for the post shall be deemed to be a delivery to a post office; and

(c) the delivery of a postal article at the house or office of the addressee, or to the addressee or his servant or agent or other person considered to be authorised to receive the article according to the usual manner of delivering postal articles to the addressee, shall be deemed to be delivery to the addressee.

PRIVILEGE AND PROTECTION OF THE GOVERNMENT

3. Establishment of post offices.

(1) Wherever posts or postal communications are established, the Government shall have the exclusive privilege of conveying by post, from one place to another, all letters, except in the following cases, and shall also have the exclusive privilege of performing all the incidental services of receiving, collecting, sending, dispatching, and delivering all letters, except in the following cases, that is to say—

(a) any letter entrusted to or carried or delivered by a friend or other private agent of the sender or of the receiver, without payment or promise of any fee or reward for the collection or acceptance or the carriage or delivery thereof;

(b) any letter entrusted to or carried or delivered by a paid agent or messenger who is specially and solely employed for the purposes of the sender or receiver and is not a person generally engaged or open to engagement by members of the public for collecting and delivering letters for fee or reward;

(c) any letter which relates solely to a consignment of goods and which is sent and intended to be delivered with such consignment without payment or promise of any fee or reward over and above the fee or reward payable for the carriage and delivery of such consignment;

(d) any letter containing trade announcements, circulars, printed extracts from newspapers or advertisements, which is not addressed to any person by name and is one of a number of letters distributed to members of the public without reference to any list of names or addresses;

(e) any letter carried by any person other than an officer of the post office either to a post office or letter box for the purpose of posting or from a post office for delivery to the addressee;

(f) any letter which is not transmissible by post under any written law for the time being in force.

(2) Nothing contained in subsection (1) shall be deemed to authorise any person to make a collection of letters of the description set out in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of that subsection for the purpose of sending or dispatching such letters otherwise than by post.

4. Monopoly of carriage of letters.

Wherever posts or postal communications are established, the following persons are expressly forbidden to collect, carry, tender, or deliver letters or to receive letters for the purpose of carrying or delivering them, although they obtain no hire, reward, or other profit or advantage for so doing, that is to say—

(a) common carriers of passengers or goods and their servants or agents, except as regards letters solely concerning goods in their carts, carriages or other vehicles; and

(b) owners and masters of vessels sailing or passing on any river or canal in Sri Lanka or between any ports or places in Sri Lanka, owners, pilots or other persons in charge of aircraft flying between any places in Sri Lanka, and the servants or agents of such owners, masters, pilots or other persons, except as regards letters solely concerning goods on board, and except as regards postal articles received for conveyance under section 43.

5. Definitions for purposes of sections 3 and 4.

For the purposes of sections 3 and 4, unless the context otherwise requires, letter includes a post card, a letter-card, commercial papers and any communication written or printed or otherwise recorded on any material of any description whatsoever.

6. Government protected from liability for losses not caused by willful act or default.

The Government shall not incur any liability by reason of the loss, misdelivery, delay of, or damage to, any postal article in course of transmission by post, except in so far as such liability may in express terms be undertaken by the Minister as hereinafter provided; and no officer of the post office shall incur any liability by reason of any such loss, misdelivery, delay, or damage, unless he has caused the same fraudulently or by his willful act or default.

POSTAGE

7. Power to fix rates of potage.

(1) The Minister with the concurrence of the Minister in charge of the subject of Finance may by notification in the Gazette, fix the rates of postage and other sums to be charged in respect of postal articles sent by the inland post under this Ordinance.

(2) Unless and until such notification as aforesaid is issued the rates in force at the date of the passing of this Ordinance shall be the rates chargeable thereunder.

8. Power to make rules.

(1) The Minister may by rule—

(a) require the prepayment of postage on inland postal articles, or any class of inland postal articles, and prescribe the manner in which prepayment should be made;

(b) prescribe the postage to be charged on inland postal articles when the postage is not prepaid or is insufficiently prepaid;

(c) provide for the redirection of postal articles and the transmission by post of articles so redirected either free of charge or subject to such further charge as may be specified in the rules;

(d) provide for the franking of postal articles by officers of the public service and members of Parliament under such limitations as may from time to time be deemed expedient; and

(e) prescribe the scale of weights, terms and conditions subject to which the rates fixed for postage shall be charged.

(2) Every such rule shall be published in the Gazette and shall have effect from the date of such publication. Every such rule shall, as soon as possible after such publication, be tabled before Parliament. If Parliament, within a period of three months from the date on which such rules are so tabled, disapproves of any such rule, such rule shall cease to be effective with effect from the date of such disapproval but without prejudice to anything done thereunder. In the computation of the said period of three months, any period during which Parliament is not in session shall not be reckoned.

[S 8 subs by s 2 of Law 6 of 1973.]

9. Power to make rules for transmission of registered newspapers.

(1) The Minister may make rules providing for the registration of newspapers for transmission by inland post as registered newspapers.

(2) For the purpose of such registration every publication consisting wholly or in great part of political or other news or of articles relating thereto or to other current topics, with or without advertisements, shall be deemed a newspaper, subject to the following conditions, namely—

(a) that it is published in numbers at intervals of not more than thirty-one days; and

(b) that it has a bona fide list of subscribers.

(3) An extra or supplement to a newspaper, bearing the same date as the newspaper and transmitted therewith, shall be deemed to be part of the newspaper:

Provided that no such extra or supplement shall be so deemed unless it consists wholly or in great part of matter like that of the newspaper, and has the title and date of publication of the newspaper printed at the top of each page.

Explanation:

Nothing in this section or in the rules made thereunder shall be construed to render it compulsory to send newspapers by post.

10. Arrangements with other countries for the transmission of postal articles.

(1) The Minister may from time to time authorise the Postmaster-General to make arrangements with the postal authority of any foreign country, for all or any of the following purposes, namely—

(a) for the transmission by post of postal articles between Sri Lanka and any foreign country, or through Sri Lanka or any foreign country, to or from any part of the world, as the case may be, and for the payment of the expenses thereof, not exceeding such sums as from time to time are appropriated for the purpose by Parliament;

(b) for the fixing and collection of postage or other dues upon postal articles transmitted as aforesaid; or on

(c) for the prepayment in full, otherwise, of the postage due any such postal articles;

(d) for the transmission of registered, insured, and value-payable postal articles, and the rates to be charged therefor;

(e) for the interchange of money orders and postal orders, the manner in which and the conditions subject to which such orders may be issued and paid, and the rates of commission to be charged thereon;

(f) for the division and the mutual accounting for and payment of the money collected under any such arrangement;

(g) for the granting of compensation for the loss of postal articles or their contents or for any damage caused to them in course of transmission by post, and the conditions and limitations subject to which such compensation may be granted.

(2) The rates and regulations existing under any such arrangement now in force shall continue until altered as herein provided.

(3) Where any arrangement under this section is in force, the Minister may, in conformity with the provisions of such arrangement, determine and adequately notify the terms, conditions and requirements to be observed in respect of any of the purposes specified in subsection (1) of this section.

11. Payment of surcharged postage on insufficiently stamped articles.

(1) The addressee of a postal article on which postage or any other sum chargeable under this Ordinance is due shall be bound to pay the postage or sum so chargeable on his accepting delivery of the postal article, unless he forthwith returns it unopened:

Provided that, if any such postal article appears to the satisfaction of the Postmaster-General to have been maliciously sent for the purpose of annoying the addressee he may remit the postage.

(2) If any postal article on which postage or any other sum chargeable under this Ordinance is due is refused or returned as aforesaid, or if the addressee is dead or cannot be found, then the sender shall be bound to pay the postage or sum due thereon under this Ordinance.

12. Enforcement of Payment of postage.

If any person refuses to pay any postage or other sum due from him under this Ordinance in respect of any postal article, the sum so due may, on application made by an officer of the post office authorised in this behalf by the written order of the Postmaster-General, be recovered for the use of the post office from the person so refusing, as if it were a fine imposed under this Ordinance, by any Magistrate having Jurisdiction where that person may for the time being be resident; and the Postmaster-General may further direct that any other postal article, not being on State service, addressed to that person shall be withheld from him until the sum so due is paid or recovered as aforesaid.

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