1*[(1)] Within2*[India], the Central Government shall have the exclusive privilege of establishing, maintaining and working telegraphs:
Provided that the Central Government may grant a licence, on such conditions and in consideration of such payments as it thinks fit, to any person to establish, maintain or work a telegraph within any part of 2*[India]:
3*[Provided further that the Central Government may, by rules made under this Act and published in the Official Gazette, permit, subject to such restrictions and conditions as it thinks fit, the establishment, maintenance and working-
(a) Of wireless telegraphs on ships within Indian territorial waters4*[and on aircraft within or above2[India], or Indian territorial waters], and
(b) Of telegraphs other than wireless telegraphs within any part of 2*[India].
5*[Explanation:-The payments made for the grant of a licence under this subsection shall include such sum attributable to the Universal Service Obligation as may be determined by the Central Government after considering the recommendation made in this behalf by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India established under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (24 of 1997).]
3*[(2) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, delegate to the telegraph authority all or any of its powers under the first proviso to sub-section (1).
The exercise by the telegraph authority of any power so delegated shall be subject to such restrictions and conditions as the Central Government may, by the notification, think fit to impose.]
(1) On the occurrence of any public emergency, or in the interest of the public safety, the Central Government or a State Government, or any officer specially authorised in this behalf by the Central Government or a State Government, may, if satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do, take temporary possession (for so long as the public emergency exists or the interest of the public safety requires the taking of such action) of any telegraph established, maintained or worked by any person licensed under this Act.
(2) On the occurrence of any public emergency, or in the interest of the public safety, the Central Government or a State Government or any officer specially authorised in this behalf by the Central Government or a State Government may, if satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence, for reasons to be recorded in writing, by order, direct that any message or class of messages to or from any person or class of persons, or relating to any particular subject, brought for transmission by or transmitted or received by any telegraph, shall not be transmitted, or shall be intercepted or detained, or shall be disclosed to the Government making the order or an officer thereof mentioned in the order:
Provided that the press messages intended to be published in India of correspondents accredited to the Central Government or a State Government shall not be intercepted or detained, unless their transmission has been prohibited under this sub-section.]
Any Railway Company, on being required so to do by the Central Government, shall permit the Government to establish and maintain a telegraph upon any part of the land of the Company, and shall give every reasonable facility for working the same.
6A - 1*Power to notify rates for transmission of messages to countries outside India
(1) The Central Government may, from time to time, by order, notify the rates at which, and the other conditions and restrictions subject to which messages shall be transmitted to any country outside India.
(2) In notifying the rates under sub-section (1), the Central Government shall have due regard to all or any of the following factors, namely:-
(a) The rates for the time being in force, for transmission of messages, in countries outside India;
(b) The foreign exchange rates for the time being in force;
(c) The rates for the time being in force for transmission of messages within India;
(d) Such other relevant factors as the Central Government may think fit in the circumstances of the case.]
(1) The Central Government may, from time to time, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules consistent with this Act for the conduct of all or any telegraphs, established, maintained or worked by the Government or by persons licensed under this Act.
(2) Rules under this section may provide for all or any of the following among other matters, that is to say:-
(a) The rates at which, and the other conditions and restrictions subject to which, messages shall be transmitted 1 [within India];
(b) The precautions to be taken for preventing the improper interception or disclosure of messages;
(c) The period for which, and the conditions subject to which, telegrams and other documents belonging to, or being in the custody of, telegraph officers shall be preserved;
(d) The fees to be charged for searching for telegrams or other documents in the custody of any telegraph officer;
2*[(e) The conditions and restrictions subject to which any telegraph line, appliance or apparatus for telegraphic communication shall be established, maintained, worked, repaired, transferred, shifted, withdrawn or disconnected;]
3*[(ee) The charges in respect of any application for providing any telegraph line, appliance or apparatus;]
4*[(eea) The manner in which the fund may be administered;
(eeb) The criteria based on which sums may be released;]
(f) The charges in respect of-
(i) The establishment, maintenance, working, repair, transfer or shifting of any telegraph line, appliance or apparatus;
(ii) The services of operators operating such line, appliances or apparatus;
(g) The matters in connection with the transition from a system whereunder rights and obligations relating to the establishment, maintenance, working, repair, transfer or shifting of any telegraph line, appliance or apparatus for telegraphic communication attach by virtue of any agreement to a system where under such rights and obligations attach by virtue of rules made under this section;
(h) The time at which, the manner in which, the conditions under which and the persons by whom the rates, charges and fees mentioned in this subsection shall be paid and the furnishing of security for the payment of such rates, charges and fees;
(i) The payment of compensation to the Central Government for any loss incurred in connection with the provision of any telegraph line, appliance or apparatus for the benefit of any person-
(a) Where the line, appliance or apparatus is, after it has been connected for use, given up by that person before the expiration of the period fixed by these rules, or
(b) Where the work done for the purpose of providing the line, appliance, or apparatus is, before it is connected for use, rendered abortive by some act or omission on the part of that person;
(j) The principles according to which and the authority by whom the compensation referred to in clause (i) shall be assessed;
5*[(jj) The qualifications to be possessed and the examinations, if any, to be passed by the persons employed for the establishment, maintenance or working of any telegraph and the fees to be charged for admission to such examinations;] and
(k) Any other matter for which provision is necessary for the proper and efficient conduct of all or any telegraphs under this Act.]
(3) When making rules for the conduct of any telegraph established, maintained or worked by any person licensed under this Act, the Central Government may by the rules prescribe fines for any breach of the same:
Provided that the fines so prescribed shall not exceed the following limits, namely:-
(i) When the person licensed under this Act is punishable for the breach, one thousand rupees, and in the case of a continuing breach a further fine of two hundred rupees for every day after the first during the whole or any part of which the breach continues;
(ii) When a servant of the person so licensed, or any other person, is punishable for the breach, one-fourth of the amounts specified in clause (i).
2*[(4) Nothing in this section or in any rules made hereunder shall be construed as-
(a) Precluding the Central Government from entering into an agreement with a person for the establishment, maintenance and working by that Government on terms and conditions specified in the agreement, of any telegraph line, appliance or apparatus for the purpose of affording means of telegraphic communication, where having regard to the number of the lines, appliance or apparatus required by that person for telegraphic communication, it is necessary or expedient to enter into such agreement with him, or
(b) Subjecting the Central Government to any obligation to provide any telegraph line, appliance or apparatus for the purpose of affording means of telegraphic communication.
5*[(5) Every rule made under this section shall be laid as soon as may be after it is made before each House of Parliament while it is in session for a total period of thirty days 6*[which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid,] both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule]].
7A - 7* Saving of existing agreements
Nothing in section 7 shall authorise the making of any rules determining any agreement entered into by the Central Government with any person before the commencement of the Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 1957, relating to the establishment, maintenance or working of any telegraph line, appliance or apparatus for telegraphic communication; and all rights and obligations there under relating to such establishment, maintenance or working shall be determined in accordance with the terms and conditions of such agreement.
7B - Arbitration of disputes
(1) Except as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, if any dispute concerning any telegraph line, appliance or apparatus arises between the telegraph authority and the person for whose benefit the line, appliance or apparatus is, or has been, provided, the dispute shall be determined by arbitration and shall, for the purposes of such determination, be referred to an arbitrator appointed by the Central Government either specially for the determination of that dispute or generally for the determination of disputes under this section.
(2) The award of the arbitrator appointed under sub-section (1) shall be conclusive between the parties to the dispute and shall not be questioned in any Court].
The Central Government may, at any time, revoke any licence granted under section 4, on the breach of any of the conditions therein contained, or in default of payment of any consideration payable there under.
The1*[Government] shall not be responsible for any loss or damage which may occur in consequence of any telegraph officer failing in his duty with respect to the receipt, transmission or delivery of any message; and no such officer shall be responsible for any such loss or damage, unless he causes the same negligently, maliciously or fraudulently.
9A - Establishment of Universal Service Obligation Fund
(1) On and from the commencement of the Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003, there shall be established, for the purposes of this Act, a Fund to be called the "Universal Service Obligation Fund".
(2) The Fund shall be under the control of the Central Government and there shall be credited thereto-
(a) Any sums of money paid under section 9B;
(b) Any grants and loans made by the Central Government under section 9C.
(3) The balance to the credit of the Fund shall not lapse at the end of the financial year.
9B - Crediting of sum to Consolidated Fund of India
The sums of money received towards the Universal Service Obligation under section 4 shall first be credited to the Consolidated Fund of India, and the Central Government may, if Parliament by appropriation made by law in this behalf so provides, credit such proceeds to the Fund from time to time for being utilised exclusively for meeting the Universal Service Obligation.
9C - Grants and loans by the Central Government
The Central Government may, after due appropriation made by Parliament by law in this behalf, credit by way of grants and loans such sums of money as that Government may consider necessary in the Fund.
9D - Administration and utilisation of Fund
(1) The Central Government shall have the power to administer the Fund in such manner as may be prescribed by rules made under this Act.
(2) The Fund shall be utilised exclusively for meeting the Universal Service Obligation.
(3) The Central Government shall be responsible for the co-ordination and ensuring timely utilisation and release of sums in accordance with the criteria as may be prescribed by rules made under this Act.]
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