Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Official Secrets Act

Topics Covered: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

Official Secrets Act:


Context:

Complaints have been filed with the Mumbai Commissioner of Police demanding action against Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami under the Official Secrets Act.

Background:

Maharashtra Congress demanded for the arrest of Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami by registering cases for sedition for leak of sensitive information related to national security through WhatsApp chat.

About the Official Secrets Act:

  • Originally enacted during the time of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905.
  • One of the main purposes of the Act was to muzzle the voice of nationalist publications.
  • The Act replaced the earlier Act, and was extended to all matters of secrecy and confidentiality in governance in the country.

It broadly deals with two aspects:

  1. Spying or espionage, covered under Section 3.
  2. Disclosure of other secret information of the government, under Section 5.

Is “secret information” defined?

The Act does not say what a “secret” document is. It is the government’s discretion to decide what falls under the ambit of a “secret” document.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of Official Secrets Act.
  2. Key provisions.
  3. Ambit of the Act.
  4. Official Secrets Act vs RTI.

Sources: the Hindu.