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Report No. 24

28. Section 5(2).-

With reference to section 5(2) empowering a Commission to require any person to furnish information on a matter under inquiry, a question has been raised as to whether the persons so required can be punished for failure to give information, having regard, in particular, to the decision1 in Ali Mohamed v. Emperor, 72 IA 226: AIR 1945 PC 40. In that case the members of the Wakf Board had not been declared to be public servants by the Act constituting the Board. Further, the Act provided a separate punishment for failure to furnish information. There is, however, no objection to the position being clarified by stating in sub-section (2) that any person required to furnish information shall be bound to furnish such information, so as to attract the penal provisions of the Indian Penal Code in this behalf.

It has been suggested that a specific provision should be inserted in this subsection (on the lines of section 175, Criminal Procedure Code), to the effect that a person shall not be required to disclose information which might incriminate him. We may point out that the obligation to disclose information under this subsection is subject to any privilege available under the law for the time being in force. It would thus appear that no special privilege is conferred by this section, but any privilege conferred by any other law would be available under the subsection.

1. See App II, Notes to section 5 (2) for detailed discussion.

Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 Back

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