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A complaint was filed by B. Bhattacharjee, Deputy Secretary, Government of India, Cabinet Secretariat with CBI seeking legal action against the petitioner Major General (retired) V.K. Singh under the provisions of the Officials Secrets Act, 1923. Subsequently, an FIR was registered against Singh on September 20, 2007, by the CBI.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to quash the Central Bureau of Investigation’s case registered against Major General (retired) V.K. Singh for allegedly revealing secret information in his book "India's External Intelligence- Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing”.
While dismissing the plea by the former RAW officer, the bench of Justice Mukta Gupta stated that whether the revelations in the book were likely to affect the sovereignty, integrity, and security of the country was a matter of trial and what prejudices national security cannot be decided by courts.
"It would be a matter of trial after the witnesses are examined to see whether the revelations by the petitioner in his book are likely to affect the sovereignty and integrity of India and/or the security of the State. In view of the discussion aforesaid, this Court finds no merit in the petition. Petition and application are dismissed," the court said.
The allegations in the FIR were that the petitioner "revealed secret information" through the publication of his book titled “India’s External Intelligence- Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)”.
Through the present petition, the former RAW officer was seeking quashing of the case against him registered under the Official Secrets Act.
The petitioner contended that his intention in writing the book was to highlight two major issues in the country’s external intelligence agency; the lack of accountability and corruption.
On the contrary, the CBI contended that the book had revealed classified information in his book, including details of a “top secret” future technology upgradation.
“No doubt, the entire tenor of the book of the petitioner highlights certain irregularities, etc., at RAW but the grievance of the respondent is as to the names of the officer, location of the places, and recommendations of the GOM, etc. This Court in the decisions as noted above i.e. in the case of petitioner himself as also in the case of Ms. Nisha Priya Bhatia has noted that what prejudices the national security cannot be decided by the Courts”, the court said.
The single-judge bench noted that even in the present case, the recommendations of the group of Ministers (GOM), which were deleted from publication, have been reproduced verbatim by the petitioner.
“The petitioner has heavily relied upon some other books and articles wherein references have been made to the recommendations of the GOM but it may be noted that in none of those articles or publications, the recommendations of the GOM have been reproduced verbatim”, the court noted.
Furthermore, the court noted, “the petitioner himself was of the opinion that similar revelations by the two other authors and publishers amounted to an offence under the Official Secrets Act and thus filed complaint wherein cognizance was taken by the learned CMM; though on a challenge before this Court, the same was set aside as the complaint was not filed by the competent authority”.
Case Title: Maj Gen V.K. Singh (Retd.) v. CBI
Statue: The Officials Secrets Act, 1923
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