Friday, June 24, 2011

Re: [HumJanenge] House considers repealing Official Secrets Act


The OSA in India will not be amended, as long as babus have their way.

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission chaired by Shri Veerapppa
Moily, the present Law Minister, submitted its report titled 'Right to
Information – Master key to good governance' to the Prime Minister in
June 2006. The report recommended that the Official Secrets Act, 1923
should be repealed or amended, to bring it in line with the Right to
Information Act, 2005.

In 2008 I filed RTI applications with the Ministry of Law and the
MHA, asking for the action taken by the Government on the Report of
the ARC. The DOPT, to whom the application was transferred by the Min
of Law, informed me that this recommendation has been rejected by the
Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) set up in the MHA. When I brought this
to the notice of Shri Moily, he had assured me that he would pursue
the matter with the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, the MHA said that the information could not be given since
the meetings of the IMG were attended by officers from agencies under
the RTI Act. I filed a complaint with the CIC, who asked the MHA to
show him the files dealing with the case. On 25/1/2010 the CIC issued
an order directing the MHA to give me a copy of the file noting on a
particular page of the MHA file. He also directed the MHA to provide
the titles and designations of the officers sitting in the IMG.

The MHA sent a reply on 11/2/2010. They gave the ranks of officers
from the MHA, CBI, Delhi Police, Min of Law etc. They also mentioned
that a "Jt Secretary level officer from an organization exempted under
Section 24 of the RTI Act' was a member of the IMG. They did not give
the titles ie appointments of the officers or a copy of the file
noting, stating that they had sought some clarifications from the CIC.

The important point to note concerns the composition of the IMG. It
has representatives from the Police, CBI, Intelligence Agencies, Law
Ministry etc, but not from the Armed Forces. The genesis of the OSA
was the need to prevent spying and wrongful communication of military
secrets. The importance of military secrets is highlighted by the
provisions of Section 3 of the OSA, which prescribe a punishment of 14
years imprisonment for disclosure of military secrets, but only 3
years for all others. It appears odd that the military has been kept
out of the deliberations of the IMG.

I have written to the Home Minister as well as the Law Minister on
2/3/2010 pointing out this anomaly.

I have received a letetr from Shri Moily dated 21/4/2010 ,
acknowledhing my letter. That is all. The MHA has still not responded
to the CIC's orders. It is clear that it is the bureaucrats in the MHA
and the intelligence agencies who call the shots. Shri Moily had
promised several judicial reforms when he took over as Law Minister.
But he came up against the wall of babus when he wanted to amend the


Maj Gen VK Singh

PS. For those who want an insight into the OSA, please read my article
USI Journal. It is attached.

On Sat, Jun 25, 2011 at 9:51 AM, Sarbajit Roy <> wrote:
> Dear Mr Anand
> Before posting such emails, did you appreciate that the said article refers
> to NIGERIA !!!
> Sarbajit
> On Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 10:10 PM, Anand acf <> wrote:
>> House considers repealing Official Secrets Act
>> For the many years the famous Freedom of Information Bill (now Right of
>> Information) remained unapproved by the National Assembly, the 1962
>> Secrets
>> Act, and its several amendments, stood as the citadel upon which arguments
>> against the passage of the ...
>> --
>> Anand S.
>> Coordinator, Anti Corruption Forum
>> Bangalore 560 085.
>> Cell No. +91-92410-12730

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