(Last Updated on : 04-04-2017)
Press Acts of India are those acts, which were enacted during British
rule in India as well as after Indian Independence
. In order to curb the power of the Indian press to freely criticize government policies, the British government
had to pass several acts from time to time. The different press acts are described below.
Vernacular Press Act, 1878
To prevent Vernacular Press from criticizing British rule Vernacular Press Act
, 1878 was passed by Lord Lytton
, the then Viceroy of India
. According to this act, any printer or publisher of a newspaper
could be asked by any magistrate or Commissioner of Police to enter into a bond, which would restrict him to print anything threatening peace and security. The writing considered objectionable would be confiscated. All the proof sheets of contents of paper were asked to be handed over to the police prior to the publication.
The Indian Press Act, 1910
The Indian Press Act, 1910
aimed to curb the Indian Independence Movement by targeting financial securities. These securities could be confiscated in case of any breach of the exceptionally wide provisions of the legislation. The local government was empowered to demand a security deposit of not less than Rs 500 and not more than Rs 2000, which could be forfeited and it's registration cancelled owing to the printing of any objectionable material. Even the customs and postal officers were empowered to examine and detain suspected matter.
The Indian Press (Emergency Powers) Act 1931
The Indian Press (Emergency Powers) Act
1931 aimed to curd the propaganda for Civil Disobedience Movement by the provincial governments. In 1932, the provisions of this act were further magnified in the form of the Criminal Amendment Act. The Indian National Congress
was banned and its activities were declared illegal. The press promulgating national feelings was also considered illegal.
Press Regulating Act 1942
Press Regulating Act, 1942 demanded compulsory registration of journalists. Restrictions were imposed on the content related to civil disturbances, acts of sabotage and headlines and space given to news on disturbances.
Press (Objectionable Matters) Act, 1951
According to the Press (Objectionable Matters) Act, 1951, the government could demand and relinquish security for publication of “objectionable matter”. Unhappy owners and printers were bestowed with the right to demand trial by jury. This act was passed along with amendment to Article 19 (2) of the Constitution.
Other Press Related Acts
Some of the other Press Related Acts are The Censorship Act 1799, Licensing Regulation 1823, Newspaper Act
1908 and Newspaper (Price and Page) Act, 1956.