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(1) The address should include the following particulars and in that order :

a. Name of the addressee.

b. Number of the house and name if ​any.​

c. Flat or apartment number, floor number and block number, if any.

d. Name of the street or road or the name of the place or locality.

e. Name of the Post Office of delivery.

f. Name of the province, State, Department, etc.

g. The delivery zone number or the postal code number, if any

h. Name of the country.

The town and the country should be indicated in block capitals. All the particulars should be in Roman Letters with Arabic numerals setting them out on the right-hand side lengthwise. It is recommended that the town and the country be spelt according to the English names. If other letters and figures are used in the country of destination, it is recommended that the address is given also in these letters and figures.

In addition, the address must be written on the envelope on the plain side which is not provided with the closing flap and in a rectangular area situated at least:

40 mm from the top edge of the envelope (tolerance 2 mm):

15 mm from the right hand edge:

15 mm from the bottom edge:

And not more that 140 mm from the right-hand edge:

(2) In the case of the articles sent at reduced rate the indication “Printed Paper”, “News Paper”, “Small Packet”, “Literature for the Blind” as the case may, should be made on the top of the address side.

(3) It is recommended that the word “Letter” may be indicated on the address side of letters which by reasons of their size or make up are likely to be mistaken for other (reduced rate) articles.

(4) On all items in envelopes, the sender’s address, when it appears on the front, must be placed in the top left-hand corner; this position shall also be assigned to service indications or labels, if any, which may be located beneath the sender’s address. The items shall be closed by completely stitching down the sealing flap of the envelope. In the case of standardized items [see clause 25(c)], on the address side on which the address shall be written in the direction of the length, a rectangular area 40 mm (-2mm) in depth from the upper edge and 74 mm in width from the right-hand edge shall be reserved for affixing the postage stamp or stamps and the cancellation impression. Inside this area the postage stamps or franking impression shall be applied in the top right-hand corner. No wording or extraneous matter whatsoever may appear:-

-- below the address,

-- to the left of the address, in or area of at least 15 mm wide and running from the first line of the address to the bottom edge of the item,

-- in an area 15 mm high starting from bottom edge of the item and 140 mm long starting right-hand edge of the item. This area may be partly identical with those defined above.

Note: The following items shall not be considered at standardized:

(i) Items which do not comply with the conditions stipulated in clauses 10(a)(vii), 11(d) and 25(c);

(ii) Folded cards;

(iii) Items closed by means of staples, metal eyelets or hook fastening;

(iv) Punched cards sent unenclosed (with an envelope);

​​​(v) Items whose envelops are made of material which has fundamentally different physical properties from paper (except from the material used for making the panel of window envelops);

(v) Items whose envelops are made of material which has fundamentally different physical properties from paper (except from the material used for making the panel of window envelops);

(vi) Items containing articles causing protrusions;

(vii) Folded letters sent unclosed (with an envelope) which are not closed on all sides and which are not rigid enough for mechanical processing.

(5) It is recommended that the addresses of the addressee and the sender may be shown inside the item and as far as possible on the contents or on a label made of a sturdy material attached to the contents.

(6) In all cases in which the item is under wrapper, the addressees address should be written on it except for article sent in accordance with the provisions of clause 9.

(7) Registered items addressed to Post Box Nos. In many countries Registered letters addressed to Post Box Numbers are not delivered (as in the case of inland post in India). However, since such articles are delivered in some countries, the Indian Post Office will not refuse to accept Registered article to a foreign country addressed to a Post Box Number without other particulars. The acceptance of registered letters addressed to Post Box Numbers in on the distinct understanding that the Indian Post Office will not be responsible for the manner of their delivery in foreign country or for their non-delivery and return. Senders are advised to make sure of the procedure adopted in the country of destination before booking such articles.

(8) No article should have the whole or part of the address side marked off into several divisions intended to provide for successive addresses.


Make up and Packing:  

(a) Every parcel must be packed and closed in a manner with due regard to the weight and the nature of the contents as well as mode of transport and the length of the journey; the packing and closing must protect the contents so that these cannot be damaged by pressure or by repeated handling; thet must also be such that it is impossible to tamper with the contents without leaving an obvious trace of violation.

(b) Every parcel must be made up securely if it has to be conveyed over long distances or it has to undergo many transshipments or handlings. The parcel should also be protected against major changes in climate, temperature or, in the case of conveyance by air, variations in atmospheric pressure.

(c) It must be packed in such a way as not to endanger the health of officials and to avoid any mishap or injury to officials called upon to handle it or to soil or damage other parcels or postal equipment.

(d) It must have, on the packing or the wrapping, sufficient space for the entry of service instructions and for affixing stamps and labels.

(e) The following are accepted without packing:

(i) Articles which can be fitted together or put and kept together by a strong cord with lead or other seals, so as to form one single parcel which cannot come apart.

(ii) Parcels in one piece, such as pieces of wood, metal, etc. which it is not the custom of the trade to pack.

1. Special packing conditions:  

Every parcel which contains one or other of the following substances must be made up as indicated below:

(i) Precious metals: The packing must consist either of a stout metal box, a case made of wood of a minimum thickness of 1 centimetre for parcels up to 10 kilogrammes and 1 ½ centimeters for parcels over 10 kilogrammes, or two seamless bags forming a double wrapping; however, when cases made of plywood are used, their thickness may be limited to 5 millimetres on the condition that the edges of the cases are reinforced by metal angle strips;

(ii) Glass or other fragile objects: the packing must consists of a box of metal, wood, strong plastic material or strong cardboard, filled with paper, wood shavings or any other appropritate protective material to prevent any friction or knocking during transport either between the objects themselves or between the objects and the sides of the box;

(iii) Liquids and substances which easily liquefy: they should be enclosed in perfectly leak-proof containers. Each container should be placed in a special box of metal, wood, strong plastic material or strong corrugated card board, containing enough saw dust, cotton, wood or any other appropriate protective material to absorb the liquid should the container break. The lid of the box should be fixed so that it cannot easily work loose; containing an appropriate protective material to absorb the liquid should the container break. The lid of the box shall be fixed so that it cannot easily work loose;

(iv) Fatty substances which do not easily liquefy, such as ointments, soft soap, resins etc. and silkworm eggs the conveyance of which presents fewer difficulties: Fatty substances which do not easily liquefy, such as ointments, soft-soap, resins, etc., and silk-worm eggs, the conveyance of which presents few difficulties, shall be enclosed in a first packing (box, bag of cloth, plastic, etc.) which is itself placed in a box stout enough to prevent the contents from leaking;

(v) Dry colouring powders such as aniline blue, etc: these products shall be admitted only in perfectly leak-proof metal boxes, placed in turn in boxes of wood, strong plastic material or strong corrugated cardboard with sawdust or some other appropriate absorbent and protective material between the two containers;

(vi) Dry non-colouring powders: these products shall be placed in containers of metal, wood, strong plastic material or card board, these containers shall themselves by enclosed in a box made of one of these materials;

(vii) Living animals: The wrapping of the parcel containing live animals as well as the dispatch note shall be provided with a label bearing in bold letters the words “Animaux vivants” (Live animals).

Prohibitions arising out of international agreements and corresponding inland regulations: 

Prohibitions arising out of international agreements (including the U.P.U Agreements) are of three types – (a) those arising out of the nature or category of the items (such as printed papers etc.), (b) prohibitions of a general nature intended to ensure safety and to protect postal staff, equipment and other postal articles, and (c) certain general prohibitions having broad social objectives. Some of the prohibitions overlap those arising out of internal legislation enacted on similar considerations as the international agreements. Prohibitions described in (a) above have been included in the respective chapters but are repeated here for the sake of easy reference.

Prohibitions arising out of the nature of category of the article: 

a) Printed Papers: These should not contain any document in the nature of current and personal correspondence or any enclosures or annotations not authorized (vide clauses 34 to 36).

b) Small packets: These should not contain any document in nature of current and personal correspondence, or any tape, wire, disc or similar recording media containing current and personal messages. (Clause 44).

c) Parcels: These should not contain documents (or recording media containing messages) having the character of current and personal correspondence (except when addressed to certain countries in which case one letter from the sender intended for the addressee of the parcel may be enclosed). In all cases they should not contain documents of any nature if exchanged between persons other than the addressee and the sender or those living with them. However, an invoice, dispatch note or advice or a delivery bill is always allowed if it relates only to the goods in the parcel and is placed in an unsealed envelope.

Prohibitions intended to ensure safety:  

a) It is prohibited to include in all types of foreign postal articles which by their nature or their packing, may expose officials to danger or soil or damage other postal articles or which may damage postal equipment. This includes sharp instruments not properly protected.

b) It is prohibited to include in all types of foreign postal articles, explosives, inflammable, dangerous, filthy, noxious, deleterious or radio-active substances. Perishable biological substances are, however, permitted in letters under the conditions prescribed.

c) It is prohibited to include in all types of foreign postal articles living creatures except the following: Bees, leeches and silkworms. Parasites and destroyers of noxious insects intended for insect control may be sent by Letter Post provided they are exchanged only between officially recognized institutions and the senders comply with the regulations in the country of destination or India as the case may be as to the importation or exportation of insects etc. These may also be sent by Parcel Post or EMS if the country of destination permits it. It is prohibited to transmit articles of value like coins, bank notes, currency notes, securities of any kind payable to bearer, gold or silver and articles made partly or wholly thereof, precious stones, jewels, etc. in uninsured articles (letters, parcels or EMS/International Speed Post. Where insurance is not available to any particular destination these must be insured for inland transit. Where they contain gold coins, bullion or bank notes or currency notes they should be insured for the actual value of contents.

Prohibitions intended for certain special objectives: 

a) It is prohibited to include in all types of foreign postal articles, opium, morphine, cocaine and other narcotics. This prohibition does not apply to consignments sent in insured boxes and parcels for medicinal and scientific purposes if the country of destination admits them on this condition. In India the following acts, among others, should be complied with :,The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, The Pharmacy Act, 1948, The Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act, 1954, The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, The Medicinal and Toilet Preparations (Excise Duties) Act, 1956 etc which deal with the import and export and use of such substances.

b) Postal articles containing indecent or obscene recording, printing, painting, lithograph, engraving or book or card and articles having thereon or on the cover thereof or contained within, any words marks or designs of an indecent, obscene, scurrilous, seditious, threatening or grossly offensive character are prohibited.


A number of enactments govern the import and export of articles from to foreign countries and their transmission in India. The most important among them are in Indian Post Office Act, 1898 and the rules framed there under, the Customs Act, 1962 the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 19990 and THE FOREIGN TRADE (DEVELOPMENT AND REGULATION) ACT, 1992 and the rules framed under these acts. There are other enactments also intended to restrict or control import or export of certain materials to protect human, animal and plant health. It will be impossible to describe herein details of all the non-postal enactments which apply not only to postal articles but generally for export or import through all media. The most salient points alone are given here and senders of postal articles are required to satisfy themselves before sending or receiving articles by post that these are admissible and that the various formalities required under law have been observed.

Restrictions imposed by the Indian Post Office Act:  

Anything which is prohibited for transmission in the inland post in general is also prohibited from being sent or received by foreign post. Most of these restrictions are also imposed by the international agreements, and have been described in Sub-Section A. The others are listed below:

a) It is prohibited to send or receive any ticket, proposal or advertisement relating to a lottery or any other matter descriptive of or otherwise relating to a lottery, which is circulated to act as an inducement to persons to participate in that lottery (except where the lottery is organized by the Government and this fact is indicated with full particulars on the cover along with sender’s name and address).

b) It is prohibited to send any newspaper printed and published in India without conforming to the rules laid down in the Press and Registration of Books Act 1867(Act 25 of 1867).

c) It is prohibited to send or receive any newspaper, book or document containing any seditious matter, that is to say any matter the publication of which is punishable under the Indian Penal Code.

d) It is prohibited to send an article having on it or on the cover any matter which is prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order or which is in furtherance of the aims of a political party or organization or which tends directly to cause loss or injury to any community or class of persons whatsoever.

e) It is prohibited to send an article having on it or on the cover any pictorial representation of a person who is a proclaimed offender, or who has been convicted of an offence punishable under the Indian Penal Code or under any law in force in India.

f) It is prohibited to send an article which has anything written, printed or otherwise impressed upon or attached to the address side, which either on account of its being likely to be mistaken for postage stamps or by inconvenient proximity to any such stamp or by tending to prevent the easy and quick reading of the address or in other way is in itself or in the manner in which it is written, printed, impressed or attached, is in the opinion of the Director-General, likely to embarrass the officers of the Post office in dealing with the article.

g) It is prohibited to send an article bearing any stamp that was at any time, but not currently, in use for prepayment of postage or which has printed or otherwise impressed on the article or attached to it or any part of it a facsimile, imitation, likeness, reproduction or representation of such stamp.

Restrictions imposed by the Customs Act (1962):

The Customs Act, 1962, empowers the Government to prohibit import of certain goods. Notifications are issued by the Customs& Central Excise Department in this connection from time to time. As these prohibitions apply to import through any channel they also apply to import by post. In particular, it may be mentioned that books and other publications also come under this control and orders are issued from time to time by the Customs authorities prohibiting in a general way the import of publications containing certain type of material as also prohibiting the import of individual publications. Addressees in India are advised to ascertain the details of such restrictions from the Customs authorities.

Export of jewellery and precious stones. 

In the case of jewellery and precious stones, similar procedures apply. However, the declaration forms covering articles containing jewellery and precious stones are not counter signed by an authorized dealer in Foreign Exchange or the Reserve Bank of India unless the articles are first valued and sealed by the customs authorities. In case any difficulty is experienced by senders living in places where there is no customs house, a certificate from an authorized dealer in foreign exchange as to the value of the contents of the article will be accepted by the Post Office in lieu of the customs valuation provisionally.

The export of jewellery is further subject to the restrictions under Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 and should be confirmed by the exporter.

Breach of conditions 


The treatment of articles containing prohibited goods depends upon the provisions violated. Among other things, the treatment may be return to the sender or confiscation or even legal proceedings against the sender or addressee. The post office is absolved of all responsibility when the article contains prohibited goods and consequently is seized and confiscated or destroyed by the competent authorities.

Responsibility of the sender:  

The sender of a postal article containing prohibited goods becomes liable to the same extent as the Postal Administrations for the damage caused by such an article to other postal articles sent with it. The acceptance of the article for posting does not absolve the sender of this responsibility. Under Section 61 of the Indian Post Office Act a person can be proceeded against for transmission by post of anything injurious.

Forms used: 

  • Form CN22 and Form CN23 are used.
  • CN22: For articles of value below SDR 300.
  • CN23: For articles of value SDR 300 or above.
  • Harmonized Label: For International Tracked Packet Service (ITPS) Article
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