In 2018, Official Secrets Act invoked in 5 cases

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The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued five prosecution sanction orders last year under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), 1923.

Background:

In 2015, the Centre constituted a committee to examine the provisions of the British-era Act. The committee comprising Secretaries of Home, Law, and Personnel held meetings but couldn’t reach a conclusion.

About Official Secrets Act (OSA):

  • The Official Secrets Act 1923 is anti-espionage act held over from the British colonial period.
  • It states clearly that actions which involve helping an enemy state against India are strongly condemned.
  • It also states that one cannot approach, inspect, or even pass over a prohibited government site or area.
  • According to this Act, helping the enemy state can be in the form of communicating a sketch, plan, model of an official secret, or of official codes or passwords, to the enemy.
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Other details:

  • Since the classification of secret information is so broad, it is argued that the colonial law is in direct conflict with the Right to Information Act.
  • As per the latest data available with the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of cases registered under the OSA was 11, 9 and 30 in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. Since its inception, the OSA has not been amended even once.

Sources:The Hindu

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