Ordinance Nos,
16 of 1902
Law Nos,
48 of 1973
Act Nos,
20 of 1951
22 of 1955
[1st March
, 1903
Short title.

1. This Ordinance may be cited as the Printing Presses Ordinance.

Keeper of printing press to make declaration.


(1) From and after the coming into operation of this Ordinance no person shall, within Sri Lanka, keep in his possession any press for the printing of books or papers who shall not have made and subscribed the following declaration before a Magistrate:-

“I, A. B., declare that I have a press for printing at

and this last blank shall be filled up with a true and precise description of the place where such press is situate.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Magistrate upon receiving any declaration made as aforesaid to forward the same to the Registrar, who shall file the same and register the particulars thereof in such form and manner as the Minister shall from time to time prescribe.

(3) As often as the place where any such press is kept is changed a new declaration shall be necessary.

(4) The Registrar shall transmit a copy of every declaration received by him under subsection (2) to the Government Agent of the administrative district in which the press to which the declaration relates is kept.

Penalty for keeping press without making required declaration.


(1) Whoever shall keep in his possession any such press as aforesaid without making such a declaration as is required by section 2, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding one hundred rupees, or to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months, or to both such punishments. For the purposes of this section the occupier of any premises in which any such press is found shall be deemed to have kept the same in his possession, unless he proves the contrary.

(2) Whoever in making any such declaration as aforesaid makes a statement which is false, and which he either knows or believes to be false, or does not believe to be true, shall on conviction be liable to the punishment prescribed by the last foregoing subsection.

Declarations and offences by incorporated companies and other corporations.


(1) Where the person who is required to make a declaration under section 2 is an incorporated company or any other corporation, an officer of that company or other corporation shall make and sign that declaration on behalf of that company or other corporation.

(2) Where ah offence under section 3 is committed by an incorporated company or any other corporation, every person who at the time of the commission of that offence was a director, manager or secretary of that company or was an officer of that other corporation or was purporting to act in any such capacity, shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence unless he proves that that offence was commited without his consent or connivance and that he exercised all such diligence to prevent the commission of that offence as he ought to have exercised having regard to the nature of his functions in that capacity and to all the circumstances.

Printed book or paper to bear name of printer and publisher.


(1) Every book or paper printed within Sri Lanka shall have printed legibly on it the true name in full of the printer and (if the book or paper be published) of the publisher and the place of publication:

Provided that nothing in this section contained shall be taken to repeal, alter, or in any way affect the provisions of section 6 of the Newspapers Ordinance, as regards the particulars required by the said section to be printed on newspapers.

(2) Whoever shall print or publish any book or paper otherwise than in conformity with this section, or shall distribute or assist in distributing any book or paper whereon the particulars required by this section have not been duly printed, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable, on conviction thereof, to the punishment prescribed by section 3.

Power to exclude books, &c, from operation of Ordinance.

6. The Minister may by notification in the Gazette exclude any class of books or papers, or any printing presses, from the operation of the whole or any part or parts of this Ordinance.

Criminal prosecutions not to be commenced without permission from Attorney- General

7. No criminal prosecution of any person on account of any act alleged to be an offence under this Ordinance shall be commenced except with the permission first obtained of the Attorney-General.


8. In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires-

“book” includes any volume, part or division of a volume, or any collection of printed sheets of paper or similar material bound together;

“paper” includes any printed sheet of paper or similar material or any unbound collection of printed sheets of paper or similar material;

“Registrar” means the Director of the Department of National Archives and includes an Assistant Director of the Department of National Archives.

Chapter 373