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Report No. 43

7.61. All confidential communications covered by section 5(1).-

The wide language of section 5(1) may lead to some controversy. It penalises not only the communication of information useful to the enemy or any information which is vital to national security, but also includes the act of communicating in any unauthorised manner any kind of secret information which a Government servant has obtained by virtue of his office. Thus, every noting in the Secretariat file to which an officer of the Secretariat has access is intended to be kept secret. But it is notorious that such information is generally communicated not only to other Government servants but even to some of the non-official public in an unauthorised manner.

Every such information will not necessarily be useful to the enemy or prejudicial to national security. A question arises whether the wide scope of section 5(1) should be narrowed down to unauthorised communication only of that class of information which is either useful to the enemy or which may prejudicially affect the national security leaving unauthorised communication of other classes of secret information to be a mere breach of departmental rules of justifying disciplinary action.

It may, however, be urged that all secret information accessible to a Government servant may have some connection with national security because the maintenance of secrecy in Government functions is essentially for the security of the State. In this view, it may be useful to retain the wide language of this section, leaving it to the Government not to sanction prosecution where leakage of such information is of a comparatively trivial nature not materially affecting the interests of the State1.

1. Shri Narasimham, however, has a reservation on this subject.

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