Postal Services Act

Post Office Regulations 1977

[GN 112 of 1977 – 1 July 1977] [Section 38]

1. These regulations may be cited as the Post Office Regulations 1977.

PART I – GENERAL

2. In these regulations –

"bank" means a bank licensed under the Banking Act;

"British Postal Order" means a postal order sold by the British Post Office and payable at post offices in the United Kingdom and abroad;

"Convention" means the Universal Postal Union Convention;

"EMS " means Expedited Mail Service;

"hirer" means a person who hires a post office box;

"inland" means transmitted or intended for transmission by post from one place to another in Mauritius;

"insurance fee" means the charge made for the insurance of a postal packet;

"insured" means insured against the risk of loss or damage in the course of transmission by post;

"international card money order" means a money order advised by any foreign postal administration on a pink card for encashment at post offices abroad;

"licence" means a licence granted for the operation of a courier service under the authority of the Minister responsible for postal services;

"licensee" means a person to whom a licence under regulation 5(2) has been issued;

"money order" –

(a) means a postal money order; but

(b) does not include a telegraph money order;

"paying officer" means an officer who effects a payment on behalf of the Mauritius Post Limited;

"postage due stamp" means an adhesive stamp issued by the Mauritius Post
Limited and affixed to a postal packet solely on payment of a fee chargeable where postal charges have not been paid on the postal packet;

"printed papers"

(a) includes –

 (i) books, newspapers, periodicals and pamphlets;

 (ii) manuscripts of works, newspapers and proofs of printing;

 (iii) musical scores and sheets of music, other than perforated sheets intended to be used with automatic musical instruments;

 (iv) pictorial cards, visiting cards and greetings cards;

 (v) photographs or albums containing photographs, pictures, drawings and engravings;

 (vi) plans, maps, catalogues, prospectuses, advertisements, and printed, engraved, lithographed, or mimeographed notices; and

(vii) impressions or copies on paper, parchment or cardboard by means of printing, engraving, lithography, mimeography, photography or any other easily recognisable mechanical process other than a –

  (A) copying press;

  (B) typeset and hand stamp; or

  (C) typewriter; but

(b) does not include –

 (i) printed papers which bear a mark capable of constituting a conventional language;

 (ii) stamps or franking machine impressions whether obliterated or not;

 (iii) printed papers that can be converted into money or postage stamps; or

 (iv) stationery, whether bearing a printed heading or not;

"S.A.L." means surface mail conveyed by air with reduced priority;

"small packet" means a postal packet of the type specified in regulation 23;

"speedpost " means the service mark under which the EMS service will operate for the transmission of correspondence, documents and goods worldwide by the quickest possible way.

[Reg. 2 amended by reg. 3 of GN 15 of 1978 w.e.f. 1 February 1978; reg. 3 of GN 186 of 1992 w.e.f. 15 December 1992; reg. 3 of GN 224 of 1993 w.e.f. 1 January 1994; reg. 3 of GN 193 of 1995 w.e.f. 14 December 1995.]

3. (1) Except with the written authorisation of the Authority, all postal charges payable on postal packets other than –

 (a) business reply letters;

 (b) other classes of postal packets in respect of which the Authority has entered into an agreement with the sender for the grant of credit facilities or for prepayment in money,

shall, subject to regulation 39(2), be prepaid and denoted by means of –

  (i) adhesive postage stamps issued by the Authority;

  (ii) impressions by franking machines;

  (iii) imprinted or embossed postage stamps on postal stationery; or

  (iv) any other indication that full postage has been prepaid.

(2) Subject to regulation 27, postal charges for inland correspondence shall be those specified in the First Schedule.

(3) The postal charges for –

 (a) business reply letters; and

 (b) except when prepaid in money, other classes of correspondence mentioned in paragraph (1)(b),

shall, in addition to the postage, be those specified in item 1 of the Second Schedule.

(4) Subject to paragraphs (1) and (5) and to regulation 15, where postal charges on correspondence are unpaid or underpaid, the Authority may –

 (a) deliver the correspondence to the addressee on payment, by means of postage due stamps, of a fee which shall be –

  (i) in respect of inland correspondence, twice the unpaid postage together with a charge of 25 cents; and

  (ii) in respect of incoming correspondence, the charge provided by the Fourth Schedule for a foreign surface letter of 20 grammes multiplied by the ratio shown by the country of origin on the unpaid or underpaid correspondence together with a surcharge of 50 cents; or

 (b) where the addressee refuses an inland correspondence –

  (i) return it to the sender and claim from him a fee which shall be twice the deficient postage together with a charge of 25 cents; or

  (ii) forward it to the Authority if the name and address of the sender are not indicated; or

 (c) where the addressee refuses an incoming correspondence, forward it to the country of origin; or

 (d) (i) in the case of a foreign letter or postcard, forward it to its destination and indicate on it the ratio between the amount of deficient postage and the charge payable in respect of a surface letter of 20 grammes; or

  (ii) in the case of all other foreign correspondence, forward it to the Authority.

(5) Where a fee payable under paragraph (4)(a) or (b) is less than 25 cents or a multiple of 25 cents, the fee shall be rounded up to 10 cents or to the next multiple of 25 cents, as the case may be.

[Reg. 3 amended by reg. 3 of GN 363 of 1981 w.e.f. 1 January 1982; reg. 4 of GN 224 of 1993 w.e.f. 1 January 1994; reg. 3 of GN 70 of 1994 w.e.f. 21 April 1994.]

4. (1) Subject to this regulation, every category of postal packet shall be accepted for transmission by post.

(2) No insured letter or small packet shall be accepted for transmission by inland post.

(3) The following categories of postal packets may be accepted for transmission by surface mail –

 (a) letters;

 (b) postcards;

 (c) printed papers;

 (d) literature for the blind;

 (e) small packets;

 (f) subject to regulation 36, insured letters and insured parcels.

(4) The following categories of postal packets may be accepted for transmission by air –

 (a) as first class mail –

  (i) letters;

  (ii) air letters;

  (iii) postcards; and

  (iv) insured letters; and

 (b) as second class mail –

  (i) printed papers;

  (ii) literature for the blind; and

  (iii) small packets.

(5) The Authority may accept a foreign parcel for transmission by air or surface mail subject to the condition that the parcel may be transmitted to another country for onward transmission to the country of destination.

(6) The categories of postal packets specified in paragraph (4), other than insured letters, may be accepted for transmission by air to Rodrigues.

(7) A postal packet, presented for transmission in a category, which does not satisfy the requirements of these regulations governing packets of that category, shall be treated as belonging to the category of which it satisfies the requirements.

(8) Where a postal packet is found, in the course of transmission through the post, to contain an article in view of which the postal charges on the postal packet are underpaid, the postal packet shall be surcharged with a fee as specified in regulation 3(4), payable by means of postage due stamps.

(9) A postal packet which is open to verification, and presented for registration and transmission in a category, may –

 (a) be verified to ascertain whether it satisfies the requirements of these regulations; and

 (b) unless the appropriate charge is paid, be accepted for transmission without registration.

(10) Where a postal packet is found, in the course of transmission through the post, to contain an article in view of which the postal charges on the postal packet are underpaid, the postal packet may be –

 (a) returned to the sender for completion of postage; or

 (b) surcharged with the fee as specified in regulation 3(4), payable by means of postage due stamps.

5. (1) Any person who wishes to make use of a franking machine for franking any postal packet shall make a written application to that effect to the Authority.

(2) On receipt of an application under paragraph (1), the Authority may, subject to such conditions as he thinks fit, issue to the applicant a licence in the form set out in the Third Schedule.

(3) (a) Where an impression by a franking machine is made by error on an envelope, a label or some other document, the licensee may –

  (i) surrender the whole document within 3 months of the date on which the erroneous impression was made; and

  (ii) make a written application to the Authority for a refund of the value of the impression.

(b) On receipt of an application under subparagraph (a), the Authority may authorise the refund less a deduction of 5 per cent of the face value of the impression.

(4) Where postal stationery has been spoiled or rendered unfit for transmission by post, the Authority may, on the postal stationery being surrendered to him, authorise repayment less a deduction of 5 per cent of the value of imprinted or embossed stamps on the postal stationery.

6. (1) There shall be 2 types of post office boxes, the larger box being twice the size of the smaller box.

(2) Any person who wishes to hire a post office box shall make a written application to the Authority specifying the type of box he wishes to hire.

(3) On receipt of an application under paragraph (1), the Authority may let out a post office box to the applicant subject to such conditions as he thinks fit.

(4) Every hirer shall –

 (a) pay in advance a deposit of 300 rupees and the fee specified in item 2 of the Second Schedule;

 (b) be issued with a key to the post office box which shall remain the property of the Authority;

 (c) not use the post office box except for his personal, household or business purposes;

 (d) hand over to the officer in charge of the post office any correspondence which is erroneously delivered to his post office box;

 (e) pay the postage in respect of any article, deposited in his post office box, which has not been transmitted through the post;

 (f) pay any expenses incurred for making good any damage to his post office box unless he satisfies the Authority that –

  (i) the damage was due to a cause beyond his control; and

  (ii) he took reasonable care to prevent the damage.

(5) Where a key issued under paragraph (4)(b) is lost or damaged –

 (a) the hirer shall, in writting, inform the Authority; and

 (b) the lock shall be replaced at the expense of the hirer.

(6) The Authority may, where a hirer has acted in breach of these regulations or of a condition imposed under paragraph (3), resume possession of the post office box and the hirer shall return the key to the Authority.

[Reg. 6 amended by reg. 4 of GN 70 of 1994 w.e.f. 21 April 1994.]

7. (1) An International Reply Coupon may be exchanged for postage stamps or related items equal in value to the highest postage on an unregistered letter of the first weight step transmitted by air to a country outside Mauritius.

(2) An International Reply Coupon may be purchased in Mauritius on payment of the fee specified in item 3 of the Second Schedule.

[Reg. 7 amended by reg. 3 of GN 260 of 1990 w.e.f. 1 January 1991.]

8. (1) No person shall post, to one person at a given address, a postal packet containing correspondence addressed to another person at a different address.

(2) Any correspondence enclosed in a postal packet in contravention of paragraph (1) shall be transmitted to the addressee of the correspondence and delivered to him on payment, by means of postage due stamps, of a fee which shall be –

 (a) in the case of inland correspondence, as specified in regulation 3(4)(a)(i); and

 (b) in the case of incoming correspondence, as specified in regulation 3(4)(a)(ii).

9. No postal packet shall be accepted for transmission by post unless –

(a) the address is written legibly in English or French; and

(b) sufficient particulars are included in the address to enable the easy delivery of the postal packet.

10. Except with the written authorisation of the Authority, no postage stamp or franking machine impression which is obliterated, defaced, torn, cut, perforated, or otherwise rendered imperfect, or which has any word, letter or design written thereon shall be accepted in payment of postage.

11. (1) Where a postal packet bears a fictitious or used postage stamp, the Authority shall give written notice of the fact –

 (a) where the name and address of the sender are indicated, to the sender; or

 (b) where the name and address of the sender are not indicated in the case of an incoming postal packet, to the addressee and require him to attend the post office at such time as is specified in the notice and to give details of the name and address of the sender.

(2) The Authority shall, in the case of an incoming postal packet, transmit a statement of the facts and the postal packet to the postal administration of the country of origin of the postal packet.

12. Where the sender of a postal packet makes a request in that behalf at the time of posting, the Authority may, on payment of the fee specified in item 4 of the Second Schedule and subject to such conditions as he may determine, issue a certificate of posting.

13. (1) A postal packet may be accepted for transmission by registered post on payment, in addition to the postal charges, of the registration fee specified in item 5 of the Second Schedule.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), a postal packet to be transmitted by registered post shall be presented at a post office, and, on payment of the postal charges and the registration fee, a certificate of posting shall be issued free of charge.

(3) No postal packet shall be accepted under paragraph (2) –

 (a) unless it is enclosed in a strong cover fastened with an adhesive
substance;

 (b) if it shows any trace of having been opened or tampered with.

(4) Where an unregistered postal packet –

 (a) bears on its cover the word "Registered" or any other word to the like effect; or

 (b) contains, or is opened in the course of transmission by post and is found to contain, any article which requires transmission by registered post,

it shall be registered and shall not be delivered to the addressee except on payment, by means of postage due stamps, of a fee which shall be twice the registration fee and twice any deficiency of postage.

(5) Where the addressee refuses an inland postal packet delivered to him under paragraph (4), the postal packet shall –

 (a) where the name and address of the sender is indicated, be returned to the sender who shall be liable to pay the fee and postage specified in paragraph (4); or

 (b) where the name and address of the sender is not indicated, be forwarded to the Authority.

(6) For the purposes of paragraph (4)(b), the matters which require transmission by registered post include –

 (a) a postal order in which the name of the payee has not been inserted;

 (b) a cheque or dividend warrant not crossed or made payable to order;

 (c) a coin or bank note or currency note;

 (d) an unused postage stamp;

 (e) platinum, gold or silver, whether manufactured or not;

 (f) a precious stone or jewellery; and

 (g) any other valuable article.

[Reg. 13 amended by reg. 4 of GN 15 of 1978 w.e.f. 1 February 1978.]

14. The sender of a registered postal packed may –

(a) at the time of posting or within 12 months of the date of posting, obtain an advice of delivery on payment of the fee specified in item 6 of the Second Schedule; or

(b) within 12 months of the date of posting, request the Authority to make an enquiry free of charge regarding the loss or non-delivery of the postal packet.

[Reg. 14 revoked and replaced by reg. 3 of GN 47 of 1998 w.e.f. 1 June 1998.]

15. Where an incoming postal packet is found to belong to a category other than the one in which it has been posted, it shall not be delivered to the addressee except on payment of the charges prescribed for the category to which it belongs.

16. No postal packet shall be delivered to any person at a post office unless the Authority is satisfied that person is the addressee or his authorised agent.

17. (1) Any person who wishes to have any postal packet addressed to him at any address redirected to another address shall make a written application to the Authority.

(2) Subject to paragraphs (3), (4) and (5), a postal packet may, after delivery, be redirected to the same addressee at another address, either by an officer or by an agent of the addressee.

(3) (a) A postal packet shall be redirected free of charge if it is posted not later than the day after delivery and it has not been opened or tampered with after delivery.

(b) A registered postal packet redirected under subparagraph (a) shall be presented at a post office to be re-registered free of charge.

(4) Where a postal packet or a registered postal packet which is to be redirected is posted in contravention of paragraph 3(a) it shall be treated as posted for the first time.

(5) A postal packet redirected to a place outside Mauritius shall be liable to the deficiency of postage, if any.

18. (1) A postal packet shall not, except with the written authorisation of the Authority, be returned to the sender.

(2) Where a postal packet is returned under paragraph (1), the sender shall pay the fee specified in item 7 of the Second Schedule.

PART II – CORRESPONDENCE

19. (1) The maximum limits of size for a letter shall be –

 (a) where it is in roll form, 104 centimetres for the aggregate of the length and twice the diameter;

 (b) where it is not in roll form, 90 centimetres for the length, width and depth combined.

(2) Subject to paragraph (1) –

 (a) where a letter is in roll form, neither the length nor the diameter shall exceed 90 centimetres;

 (b) where a letter is not in roll form, neither the length nor the width nor the thickness shall exceed 60 centimetres.

(3) Subject to paragraphs (4) and (5), the minimum limits of size for a letter shall be –

 (a) where it is in roll form, 17 centimetres for the aggregate of the length and twice the diameter;

 (b) where it is not in roll form, 9 centimetres by 14 centimetres.

(4) Where a letter is in roll form, neither the length nor the diameter shall be less than 10 centimetres.

(5) The maximum limit of weight for a letter shall be 2 kilogrammes.

(6) Subject to paragraph (7), no letter in an entirely transparent cover or in a cover with an open panel shall be accepted for transmission by post.

(7) Subject to regulation 38(1), a letter whose cover includes a transparent panel may be accepted for transmission by post if –

 (a) the panel extends parallel to the length of the cover;

 (b) the panel is situated at not less than 4 centimetres from the top edge of the front side of the cover so that the application of the date stamp is not impeded;

 (c) no writing other than the address is displayed through the panel;

 (d) the contents are so folded that they may not move about in the cover so as to cause the address to be hidden; and

 (e) the transparent portion does not reflect artificial light.

20. (1) (a) Stamped postcards may be purchased at a post office.

(b) Every postcard, other than a stamped postcard issued by a post office, shall be made of cardboard, or of paper stout enough to be easily handled.

(2) (a) The maximum limits of size for a postcard shall be 105 millimetres by 148 millimetres, with a tolerance margin of 2 millimetres.

(b) The minimum limits of size for a postcard shall be 90 millimetres by 140 millimetres, with a tolerance margin of 2 millimetres.

(3) Postcards shall be posted without a cover.

(4) No message shall be written on the address side of a stamped postcard issued by the post office.

(5) In the case of a postcard other than a stamped postcard issued by the post office the right hand half at least of the address side of the postcard shall be reserved for –

 (a) the address;

 (b) postal indications;

 (c) the stamp; and

 (d) official labels.

(6) No illustration, photograph, label or cutting of any kind shall be affixed to either side of a postcard unless it –

 (a) adheres completely to the card;

 (b) is made of paper or other similar substance;

 (c) does not cause the address to be hidden; and

 (d) does not alter the nature of the postcard.

21. (1) The limits of size for printed papers shall be those specified in regulation 19(1), (2), (3) and (4).

(2) The maximum limit of weight for printed papers shall be –

 (a) 5 kilogrammes for books and pamphlets; and

 (b) 2 kilogrammes in every other case.

(3) A sender may, either inside or outside printed papers –

 (a) indicate, by hand or by mechanical process, the date of despatch as well as the name, profession, firm, address, telephone number, telegraphic address and code, or bank account number of the sender and the addressee;

 (b) correct printing errors;

 (c) strike out, underline, or enclose by marks any part of a printed paper which does not constitute personal correspondence.

(4) A sender may indicate or add by hand or by mechanical process –

 (a) on an advice of the departure or arrival of a ship, the date and time of departure or arrival, as well as the name of the ship and the port of departure, call and arrival;

 (b) on a traveller's advice, the name of the traveller, the date, time and place of his intended visit, and the address at which he is staying;

 (c) on a form of order or subscription for a publication, book, newspaper, engraving or sheet or music, the work required or offered, as well as the price of the work;

 (d) on a pictorial card, visiting card or greetings card, a formula of country expressed in not more than 5 words or 5 conventional initials;

 (e) on a proof of printing, any alteration or addition in the nature of a correction, and any note which is directly concerned with the execution of the work;

 (f) on a price list, tender for advertisement, stocks and shares list, market quotation, trade circular and prospectus, any figure or other note representing essential elements of the price;

 (g) on a book, pamphlet, newspaper, photograph, engraving, sheet of music, and on any other literary or artistic production, printed, engraved, lithographed or mimeographed, a dedication consisting of an expression of regard;

 (h) on a cutting from a newspaper or periodical, the title, date, number and address of the publication from which the article is extracted.

(5) A sender may enclose –

 (a) with proofs of printing, the master copy;

 (b) with articles of the categories specified in paragraph (4)(g), the relative invoice.

(6) Printed papers shall be made up in such manner that the contents may easily be removed for purposes of examination and shall be –

 (a) placed in wrappers or rollers or between boards open at both sides or at both ends;

 (b) folded in such a manner that other articles may not slip into the folds; or

 (c) tied with a string which is easy to unknot.

22. (1) The limits of size for literature for the blind shall be as specified in regulation 19(1), (2), (3) and (4).

(2) The maximum limit of weight for literature for the blind shall be 7 kilogrammes.

(3) Literature for the blind shall –

 (a) not contain any communication which is written or printed in ordinary type, except the title, the date of publication, the serial number, the name and address of the printer or publisher, the price or the table of contents of the book or periodical and any key to, or instructions for, the use of the special type;

 (b) not contain any enclosure except a label for the return of the postal packet;

 (c) bear on the outside the inscription "Literature for the Blind" or a designated symbol, and the written name and address of the sender;

 (d) be posted in such a way that its contents are sufficiently protected while permitting quick and easy verification.

(4) No postage shall be paid for literature for the blind transmitted by
surface mail.

(5) In this regulation, "Literature for the Blind" includes –

 (a) letters bearing writing used by the blind and posted unsealed;

 (b) plates bearing the characters of writing used by the blind;

 (c) sound recordings, and special paper intended solely for the use of the blind, which are sent by or addressed to an officially recognised institution for the blind.

[Reg. 22 amended by reg. 3 of GN 142 of 2000 w.e.f. 14 October 2000.]

23. (1) The limits of size for a small packet shall be those specified in regulation 19(1), (2), (3) and (4).

(2) The maximum limit of weight for a small packet shall be 2 kilogrammes.

(3) A small packet shall be so made up that its contents –

 (a) can easily be removed for purposes of examination; and

 (b) are adequately protected against damage or breakage.

(4) Every small packet shall –

 (a) be conspicuously marked "small packet" in the left hand top corner of the address side; and

 (b) bear the name and address of the sender.

(5) A label supplied by the Authority, giving particulars of the contents for Customs purposes, shall be affixed to the address side of the packet, and, in addition, if the country of destination so requires, one or more non-acceding Customs declaration forms shall be enclosed in the packet.

(6) Where dutiable articles are enclosed in a small packet, the sender may enclose, together with the articles, an open invoice reduced to its essential elements showing the name and address of the addressee and of the sender.

[Reg. 23 amended by reg. 4 of GN 23 of 1989 w.e.f. 15 March 1989.]

24. Correspondence addressed poste restante shall –

(a) in the case of inland correspondence, be dealt with in accordance with regulation 25 if it remains unclaimed for more than one month;

(b) in the case of incoming correspondence, be returned to the sender, if it remains unclaimed for more than 2 months.

25. (1) Subject to paragraph (2), correspondence which –

 (a) is posted in contravention of the Act with regard to –

  (i) limits of size or weight;

  (ii) correct addressing;

  (iii) prohibited matter;

  (iv) any declaration accompanying or affixed to the postal packet by or on behalf of the sender;

 (b) is refused by the addressee;

 (c) cannot be delivered because the addressee is unknown or is not found;

 (d) is returned to Mauritius from another country; or

 (e) is unclaimed for one month from the date of issue of the first notification to the addressee of its arrival, unless the sender has by means of a special note on the cover, requested its return,

shall be forwarded to the Authority.

(2) Correspondence specified in paragraph (1)(b), (c), (d) or (e) which bears the name and address of the sender on the cover, shall be returned to him, with an annotation of the reason for non-delivery.

(3) Any correspondence forwarded to the Authority shall –

 (a) in the case of correspondence specified in paragraph (1)(a), be destroyed or otherwise disposed of in such manner as may be provided in the Act;

 (b) in the case of inland correspondence which does not bear the name and address of the sender, be opened by the Authority and, if the name and address of the sender can be determined, be returned to him;

 (c) subject to subparagraph (d), in the case of incoming correspondence, be returned to the country of origin;

 (d) in the case of incoming unregistered printed papers, be destroyed unless the sender has, by means of a special note on the cover, requested
its return;

 (e) in the case of registered correspondence posted in

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