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The Official Secrets Act and Arnab Goswami

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:

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  • Originally enacted during the time of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905.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:
    • Spying or espionage, covered under Section 3.
    • Disclosure of other secret information of the government, under Section 5.

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.