Sunday, February 07, 2016

Proposed provision in book bill could land you in jail

As we celebrate the rise of publishing in India, here is a bit of news we need to watch out for.

The ministry of culture, government of India, is seeing to repeal a certain provisions in the existing ‘The Delivery of Books and Newspapers (Public Libraries) Act, 1954’ with the ‘Deposit of Books, Newspapers and Electronic Publications in Libraries Bill 2016. The bill is now with the legislative department of the law ministry.

The bill seeks to replace a pre-digital-era avatar identified as ‘obsolete’ and fit for repeal, as it does not take into account eBooks.

However, there is a catch, as the bill suggests harsher punishment for those who do follow the rules. According to the proposed bill, failure to deposit their books with designated libraries can land publishers in jail. “Two-year jail term for non-delivery of books” is one of the two penalties being considered in a bill.

The law was originally drafted to develop four public libraries in different parts of India to encourage scholarship. According to the law, a copy of every book has to be deposited with the National Library in Calcutta and three other libraries - Connemara Public Library (Chennai), Asiatic Society Library (Mumbai) and Delhi Public Library in the capital.

The old law does have a penal provision -- a fine equivalent to the value of the book. The ministry is proposing to scale up the fine 500 times the cost of the book in addition to the two-year jail term.

The procedure for submissions will be simplified. Only two copies, instead of four, of a book have to be deposited; one to the National Library and the other to a state central library.

The relevant provisions of the bill have been uploaded for information of all stakeholders/public at the ministry of culture website (

The objections or suggestions, if any, may be addressed to Director (Libraries), Ministry of Culture, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi 1 or sent by e-mail to, on or before 29 February, 2016.

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