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Report No. 43

7.65. Section 5(2)-Receiving official secrets.-

Section 5(2) penalises voluntary receipt of official secrets (fully described in that sub-section) if the offender at the time of such receipt knew or had reasonable grounds to believe that the secrets were communicated in contravention of the Act. It is extremely difficult to prove this mental element namely that he knew or had reasonable grounds to believe that the secrets were communicated in contravention of the provisions of the Act.

The language of this sub-section is somewhat similar to the language of section 411, I.P.C. which requires guilty knowledge on the part of a person retaining stolen property. Just as there is a presumption of such guilty knowledge arising out of recent possession [see illustration (a) to section 114 of the Evidence Act] we consider that a similar presumption should be made to the effect that where a person is in possession of an official secret without lawful authority, there may be a rebuttable presumption that he received it knowing or having reason to believe that it was communicated to him in contravention of the Act.



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