Special Cover & Special Cancellations Revised Guidelines Policy in Postal Department (DOP) 2023 - Postalstudy | Post Office Blog | Materials for | Exams
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Special Cover & Special Cancellations Revised Guidelines Policy in Postal Department (DOP) 2023

Special Cover Release Guidelines. Revised Guidelines on Special Cover & Special Cancellation Policy/ Rules in India Post January 2023.

Download Revised Special Cover Cancellation Guidelines 2023 in PDF

DO No: P -161912021 -Phil-DoP


The competent authority has approved the Revised Guidelines on Special Covers and Special Cancellations ( copy enclosed) for its implementation with immediate effect .

2. The copies of following documents are also being shared herewith for ready reference with request to kindly arrange to circulate the same among all Regions giving it wide publicity .

i) A Specimen copy of Special Cove( Illustration).

ii) A Specimen of Proposal/Application form (illustration).

iii) Specimen of in principle approval/approval letter (illustration).

  1. Definition
  2. Subiects on which Special Covers can be issued
  3. Who can be the proponent
  4. Competent Authority
  5. Procedure for application
  6. Procedure to be followed
  7. Design and Specifications
  8. Monetary Aspects
  9. Binding on the Proponents
  10. Departmental Actionable Points
  11. Guidelines for Formal Release Function:
1. Definition:

i) Special Cover:

An Event/Institution/Personality(Posthumously)/Occasion/Product etc. which is not considered important enough to be commemorated by issue of Commemorative/Specialstamp orforwhich a stamp cannot be accommodated in the annual Stamp issue programme may be commemorated by the Department of Posts by issue of Special Cover which can be cancelled with a special cancellation of the post office identified for the purpose.

Such covers are issued at the instance of an entity which has a locus on the subject on which the Special Cover is proposed to be issued, if applied two months in advance of the proposed date of issue in prescribed Proposal form (Annex) on payment of requisite charges. Department of Posts may also issue Special Covers on its own motion.

ii) Special Cancellation: Besides Special Covers, the proposals for the issuance of only Spl. Cancellations to commemorate an Event / lnstitution / Personality (Posthumously) / Occasion /Product etc. can also be considered for approval.

2. Subiects on which Special Covers can be issued: As an illustration the Special Covers/Spl. Cancellations can be issued on following subjects:

i) Events e.g. lnternationalTrade fair, Philatelic Exhibition, Graduation Ceremony etc.

ii) lnstitutions e.g. to commemorate its Anniversary, foundation day, Annual Day etc

iii) Personalities (Posthumously) who had contributed the society in the field of art, culture, music, education, social reforms, social services, science & technology etc.

iv) Occasion e.g. First flight, lnternational days & weeks etc.

v) Products e.g. G I Tagged Products , Handicrafts, Handloom , Artefacts etc.

vi) Flora, Fauna, Agriculture, Nature, Wild Life, Planet, Animals etc.

The above is an illustration list not an exhaustive one, for the guidance of various authorities competent to approve such proposals.

3. Who can be the proponent: Such covers/cancellation are issued at the instance of Central Government, State Government, UT Government, any GovernmenUstate/PSU organisation/entity, any registered company/Private entity, Registered Society, Recognised Association etc. Department of Posts may also issue Special Covers on its own motion.

4. Competent Authority:

i. Head of Circle ( in case of CPMG being the in charge of a Region)/ Regional Postmaster General / Addl DG, APS/ Addl. DG(Coord.) or the Member heading the Philately Division are competent to sanction the issuance of Special Covers (with or without cancellation)/Special  cancellation       commemorating any Event/Institutions/Personality(Posthumously) /Occasion /Product etc. under their jurisdiction having National/State level significance /importance /appeal subject to fulfilment of laid down conditions.

ii. ln cases where the Special Cover/Cancellation are to be issued simultaneously in places falling under the jurisdiction of more than one Circle, Directorate/Addl. DG or Member concerned heading philately Division will be the competent authority to approve such proposals at the instance of Circle where request was tendered by the proponent.

iii. ln Postal Directorate Addl. DG or Member concerned heading philately Division shall be the competent authority to issue directions to Circle(s) to lssue Special Cover/ Special Cancellations to commemorate any evenupersonality(posthumously)/Product/occasion or any other theme of importance by sharing the uniform design(s).

iv. In Postal Directorate, Addl. DG or lvlember concerned heading philatety Division, will continue to approve all such proposals for special cover which have a bearing on the diplomatic relations of lndia with other countries in consultation with MEA.

v. In APS Directorate, Addl DG, ApS will approve all such proposals for special cover on Defence Themes/subjects as clearances from various Defence establishments & Branches are required to be obtained.

5. Procedure for application:

i. The proponent must apply in prescribed application (Annexure A ) with the concerned authority (para 4) under whose jurisdiction the place falls from where, the spl. Cover/cancellation is proposed to be released/issued.

ii. All such applications must be made in prescribed form at least two months before the proposed date of such release/issue along with copies of documents in support to establish the connection /locus of the theme/subject with the proponent.

iii. The self certified copies of documents in support of the valid registration/recognition status ofthe proponent entity should invariably be attached with the application.

iv. The designs ofthe proposed special cover and cancellation cachet shall also be provided by the proponent along with application for approval.

v. The copies of authenticated supporting documents etc. on the subjecutheme of the proposed Spl Cover /cancellation must also be provided by the proponent along with application.

vi. All duly filled applications must be signed at all specified places including the undertaking portion in token of acceptance of all terms & conditions on the subject matter.

vi. Department reserves the right not to consider proposals tendered incomplete in any aspect, without informing its proponenuapplicant.

6. Procedure to be followed :

i. The competent authority shall arrange to get the proposal so received, examined to check its completeness in all aspects.

ii. The competent authority may take a clue from the below mentioned illustrative checklist while examining the proposals, to ensure that:

a. The theme/subject of the Spl Cover/Cancellation should be of considerable importance/relevance at the lnternational/National/State level.

b. The theme/subject of the proposed Spl. Cover/Cancellation will boost local philatelic interest.

c. The theme of the proposed Spl. Cover/Cancellation has been selected with due diligence keeping in view that it must not tarnish the image of Government and Department of Posts.

d. The theme of the proposed Spl. Cover /cancellation should not put Government & Department of Posts in any sort of controversy.

e. The proponent is of repute with established credibility.

f. The proponent should not have indulged in activities which may be a cause of embarrassment to the government and Department of posts

g. The theme/subjects of the proposed Spl Cover/Cancellation should not adversely atfect the Diplomatic Relations.

h. The subject /occasion of the Spl Cover/Cancellation must be non - controversial and bears no communal and political overtones.

iii. The proponent shall be intimated about rejection/in princjpal acceptance of its proposal, within two weeks from the date of receipt of such proposal ( Annexure B ).

iv. A copy of the in-Principle approval letter should invariably be sent to Circle office for information , maintenance of centralised record with the mention of Unique Serial Number of Spl . Cover.

v. The proponent will be required to deposit all requite fees and charges at specified office and to submit a copy of such receipt with in one week's time.

vi. Department of Posts will initiate further process of finalisation of designs etc. only after deposition of all charges by the proponent.

vii. The proponent is required to incorporate necessary modifications/changes in the design and text of the Spl Cover as well as in cancellation, as suggested by Department of posts.

However, Department of Posts reserves the right to modify any design or inscription in the special cover/cancellation cachet without assigning any reason.

viii. Department of Posts reserves the right to reject any application/proposal for special cancellation/cover or to disallow or to modify any design or inscription in the special cover/cancellation cachet without assigning any reason.

ix. After finalisation of the designs, the proponent is required to share the soft copies of the designs of the Spl Cover and Spl Cancellation (Open file) with colour scheme immediately with the Department of Posts, seeking formal approval.

x. After careful examination of the designs and other speciflcations vis a vis with the laid down guidelines , Department will convey the formal approval to the proponent enclosing the duly signed copies of approved designs of Spl Cover and Spl. Cancellation ( Annexure c)

xi. Department of Posts will arrange to prepare the cancellation cachet and the same shall remain in its custody.

xii. Department of Posts will arrange to cancel the Spl. Covers affixed with minimum postage stamps equivalent to the prevailing minimum inland letter mail rate, in requisite ordered quantity preferably one day in advance from the date of release.

7. Design and Specifications:

i. The design ofthe special cover should be restricted to the left half ofthe front cover and in any case it should not impinge upon the right half portion and address portion of the cover. (sample enclosed)

ii. The legend of the cover on the front portion should mention only the name of the evenuoccasion being commemorated in bilingual (first in Hindi and then in English). The legend of evenvoccasion can also be written in any of the regional languages listed in Schedule Vlll of the Constitution of lndia in compliance to the instruction issued by MHA vide O M No.1/14013/5/76-OL (Policy) dated: 18.6.1977.

iii. A brief account of the event, strictly in two lines (Hindi, English & Regional language), being commemorated can be written on the back of the cover in the prescribed manner (sample enclosed), in compliance to the instruction issued by MHA vide O M No.1/14013/5/76-OL (Policy) dated: 18.6.1977.

iv. Only factual, duly recorded and relevant information be used in the Brief ofthe theme of Cover, for printing on Spl Cover. However, an information sheet may be printed by the proponent at his own cost.

v. The logo of the Evenulnstitution (if any) etc. on which Spl Cover is being issued can be placed either on the front or the back of the Spl Cover in the prescribed manner (Sample enclosed).

vi. Name of the issuing circle and unique serial no. of the Special Cover are to be mentioned on the back of the cover along with year of release at specified space, in prescribed manner along with its sale price( excluding Postage) and total print quantity of the Special Cover. (sample enclosed).

vii. The instructions issued by Postal Directorate to accommodate any other logo (special event/occasion logos) on Speclal Covers e.g. AKAM logo ( Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav) must be complied with scrupulously (sample enclosed).

viii. The special cover should only be of standardised size i.e. ,11OX22O mm, with a tolerance of +_2 mm.

ix. The special cover be printed by Offset process preferably using maplitho paper of 130 GSM or higher GSM or any other superior quality paper ( No smooth surface and No lamination) , to eradicate the possibilities of smudging of Spl. Cancellation marks.

x. The Design of the special cover should be of secular nature and should be devoid of any nuances which may cause embarrassment to Government and friendly countries. The decision taken by the competent authority shall be the final in the matter.

xi. Possibility to provide essential information (in brief) about the theme of the Spl Cover, date of issuance, place of issue, Unique Serial number of the cover etc. through QR Code on Spl Covers can also be explored.

xii.In addition to the design of special cover, the design of cancellation cachet will also provided be by the proponent for approval.

The design of the cancellation cachet should be in Circular/Square /Rectangular/Triangular Shape with specification that any of the dimension i.e. length/width/Diameter should not exceed 3.5.cms.

xiv. The legend of the cancellation design should be bilingual (First in Hindi and then in English) indicating the date and mentioning only the event/occasion being commemorated.

xv. The design should also incorporate PIN of the Post office from where it is to be provided or in whose jurisdiction the venue is located.

xvi. The design should be in a form of line drawing so that the impressions are neat and clean. lt should also be of secular nature so as to avoid any embarrassment or controversies.


xvii. ln normal cases only blank ink be used for such spl. cancellations however, in view of the subject matter/theme of the Cover, authorities competent to approve Spl Cover proposals, may decide othervwise giving full justification.

8. Monetary Aspects

i) Number of Special Cover proposed to be printed and cancelled should not be less than 2000 including the Complimentary quota meant for Department of Posts.

ii. Spl. covers with or without cancellation can be issued at the instance of non-governmental / private parties on payment of requisite charges, as mentioned below:

Departmental Fees On Workinq days On Sundays/Holidays

Rates for the Spl. Cover with cancellation

Per day /Post Office

Per Day if it is at Proponents premises

Rs. 50,000/Rs. 1,00,000/Rs. 1,00,000/Rs. 2,00,000/-

iii) The fee for Spl Cancellation is as under: Departmental Fees

On Working days On Sundays/Holidays

Rates for the Spl Cancelations

Per day /Post Office

Per Day if it is at Proponents


25,000L Rs. 50,000/50,000/Rs. 1,00,000/-

iv. It will be the responsibility of the proponent to arrange to deposit requisite fee and all other charges etc. at prescribed location/Post Office through Cash/ Cheque/ DD/Online Transfer immediately after receipt of the approval letter.

v. The sale price of the special cover should be Rs. 20/- excluding the cost of the postage stamp to be affixed on the cover. The denomination of the posage stamp to be affixed on Spl Cover should be equivalent to the minimum inland letter maii-rate, except in the case of first flight covers between two countries where the denomination should be equivalent to the minimum foreign letter mail.

vi. ln normal cases, Spl Covers (of Sale price Rs. 20/- with cancellation on Rs. 5/Postage Stamp) shall be sold through e post office platform at a price of Rs. 5O/- each, whereas, in special/other cases Addl DG/Member postal Services board heading philately operations, may decide to upwardly revise these rates.

vii. These Spl covers will be put up for sale after the date of release till stock lasts, at the price fixed by the Department and the amount realized from sale of such covers will be deposited to Govt. account.

viii. On demand , the Special Cancellations may be provided for a period of one month from the date of its issuance on postage Stamp of minimum applicable value for letter mail or on Printed Stationery items bearing minimum applicable value of postage stamp.

ix. During any calendar year a Regional pMG can issue maximum oflO SpecialCovers & beyond that necessary relaxation may justification be sought from HoC, giving full Justification

9. Binding on the Proponents:

i. The proponent shall agree to the terms and conditions of release of special cover. A declaration/undertaking prescribed in the proposal form shall be given by the proponent. However,. the Competent authority may add additional conditions by including the same in approval letter as deemed fit and justified.

ii. It will be the responsibility of the proponent to get the covers printed stricfly as per the design approved by the Department of Posts at their cost and to hand over thi same duly affixed with postage stamp of minimum of Rs. 5/- denomination or the prevailing minimum inland letter mail postage, whichever is higher, on each cover for canceilation at-prescribed location well before the release date, preferably, three days before the scheduled date of release. However special cancellation cachet will be arranged by the Department and it will not be handed over to the proponent.

iii. The proponent shall visit the specified office and select the stamp from the available inventory for cancellation purpose

iv The proponent will supply atleast 50 duly cancelled special covers (free of cost) or a number as decided by the Competent authority i.e. Hoc/Regionat pMG/Addt DG ApS/Addt DG or Member heading the Philately Division.

v. The proponent will provide at least 250 ( or a fixed number to be decided by Hoc/Regional PMG or Addl DG or the Member postal Services Board heading phitately bivision) if the duly cancelled Special Covers to the designated HO/PO and 200 duly cancelled Spl. covers for sale through e post office. These covers will be put up for sale after the date of release till stock lasts, at the price fixed as indicated in relevant section by the Department and the amount realized from sale of such covers will be deposited to Govt. account.

vi. ln case any advertisemenvbrochureffolder/publicity material is brought out on the occasion, logo of the Department of Posts and credit for Special Cover should invariably find due place.

vii. The proponent is required to follow the laid down instructions/guidelines for Formal Release Function , wherever applicable.

viii. At release venue a suitable space shall be provided to Department of posts by the proponent for setting up a Departmental Philatelic Sales stall to show case its other product./services.

10. Departmental Actionable Points:

i. The Circle Office/APS Dte. will foMard 20 cancelled covers to Director (Philately), Postal Directorate for keeping them in the National Philatelic Museum. ln addition, the proponent will, if necessary, arrange the distribution of special covers to the VIPs attending the release function as well as for use in the presentation albums at their own cost as the Department does not organize such functions.

ii. Department shall ensure to hand over all the covers to the post office concerned for sale at the venue of release. All the sale proceeds of these special covers at the approved rate will be given to the Sponsor/Proponent by the Department along with the unsold special covers.

iii. Details about each of such new releases must be immediately shared with concerned Head of Circle for the purpose of maintaining compiled record and allotment of Unique Serial number for such covers . The HoC must also arrange to share the data pertaining to all such Spl Covers issued in the Circle on monthly basis with Philately Division, Dak Bhawan and also update the data on the Google Data Sheet.

iv. Department shall arrange to sell these Cancelled Covers through Bureaus after meeting the standing orders of PDA account holders of Bureau/nearest bureau , till its stock lasts .

v. Hoc/Regional Office/Addl DG APs/Philately Division shall ensure to send 200 copies of Cancelled Spl Covers to APM, ePost Office, Sansad Marg, New Delhi 110001 for sale purpose.

11. Guidelines for Formal Release Function:

In the event of release of Special Cover by organising formal Release Function, following guidelines on the issue must be followed scrupulously by all concerned.

i. No formal release function shall be held without the prior approval of the Department of Posts. The Department does not take any responsibility for extending the usual support for release function unless prior approval for the function has been obtained.

ii. Release function should not be organised in the premises of any worship place and the dignitaries on the dais must be of repute with non-controversial back ground.

iii. The special invitatlon shatl be sent to Regionat pMG/HoC/Addl DG ApS/Addt. DG or Member.conc€rned heading Philately Division or any other officer nominated by them to participate in the function with request to share the dais with the Chief Guest.

iv. The first album of speciar cover wifl be presented onry by the officer nominated for this purpose.

v. Similar invitation will be sent to_Minister (s) heading Department of posts, Secretary (Posts) and Director General Postar services in addition to the Regional pMG/Hoc/Addl DG APS/Addl. DG or Member concerned heading philately Division where WIP,s viz.

President, Vice President, prime Minister, Depufu prime Minister or Speaker Lok Sabha have given their consent to release the Special Cover.

vi. The draft copies of minute-to-minute programme and dais arrangements of such release function, which are consented for attendance by Hon'bre Mos /MoSc or officers from postal Directorate, must be provided to the Regionat pMG/HoC/Addt DG Aps/Addl. DG or Member concerned heading Philatery Division, for information and vetting before having the finar approval of the chief guest.

vii. There will not be any change in proposed date of release. However, in exceptional circumstances date of release can be changed after the approval of the Competent authority.

viii. The necessary arrangements for the function including printing and issue of invitation cards, site preparation, security arrangements and liaison with press & media etc. for publicity of event will be made by the proponent.

ix. If necessary, the proponent will make arrangements for distribution of special cover to the VlPs attending the release function in presentation albums at his own cost. The albums will be required to be purchased from the Department at the price fixed by the Department.

x. One officer will be nominated by the proponent to coordinate with the Department of Posts who will ensure that necessary formalities & protocol has been observed as per the requirement of the Department of posts.

xi. In case any advertisemenubrochure/folder/publicity material is brought out on the occasion, logo of the Department of posts and credit for Special Cover should find due place.

xii. A few photographs of the proposed Special. Cover release function will be provided by the proponent to the concerned Circle/philately Division, Dak Bhawan , at their own cost.

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