Censorship of Publications Act, 1929



Prohibition of publications advocating contraceptives.

16.—(1) It shall not be lawful for any person, otherwise than under and in accordance with a permit in writing granted to him under this section—

(a) to print or publish or cause or procure to be printed or published, or

(b) to sell or expose, offer, or keep for sale, or

(c) to distribute, offer or keep for distribution,

any book or periodical publication (whether appearing on the register of prohibited publications or not) which advocates or which might reasonably be supposed to advocate the unnatural prevention of conception or the procurement of abortion or miscarriage or any method, treatment, or appliance to be used for the purpose of such prevention or such procurement.

(2) Every person who acts in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds, or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(3) A book or periodical publication containing an advertisement relating to a book or periodical publication which advocates or might reasonably be supposed to advocate within the meaning of sub-section (1) of this section one or more of the matters mentioned in that sub-section shall not, by reason only of its containing such advertisement, be deemed itself to advocate any of such matters, provided such advertisement is inserted for reward and is not and could not reasonably be supposed to be itself an advocacy of any such matter.

(4) Where a person who carries on the business of selling or distributing books or periodicals or other publications is charged with an offence under this section it shall be a good defence to such charge to prove that he committed the act alleged to constitute such offence in the ordinary course of his said business, and that he could not by the exercise of reasonable care have known or ascertained the contents of the book or other publication in respect of which such act was committed.

(5) The Minister may if he thinks fit for reasons which appear to him sufficient grant to any person a permit in writing to do all or any of the following things, that is to say, to print, publish, import, sell, keep for sale, distribute, or keep for distribution any book or periodical publication the printing, publishing, importing, selling, or distributing of which without such permit would be a contravention of this section and the Minister may grant any such permit subject to such (if any) conditions and limitations as he may think fit to impose and shall specify in such permit.

(6) The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs may by order under this section make regulations for the purpose of preventing the sending or delivery by post (otherwise than under and in accordance with a permit in writing granted under this Act) of any book or periodical publication the distribution of which is prohibited by this section.