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Report No. 43

7.68. Section 6, and the variety of acts covered.-

Section 6 punishes a variety of acts when committed for the purpose of gaining admission to a prohibited place1 or for any other purpose prejudicial to the safety of the State.

This section deals with offences relating to three kinds of articles, which can be conveniently labelled as official uniforms, official passes or documents and official seals. The dominant object of the section is to punish frauds pertaining to any of these three, when committed for the purpose mentioned above. Many of the punishable acts would, no doubt, fall under the offence of cheating or the offence of forgery (or allied offences) under the Penal Code. What distinguishes the offences under the Official Secrets Act from such crimes under the Penal Code, is the purpose behind the offences, and it is this purpose which renders appropriate their inclusion in a law primarily designed to protect national security. It is this purpose, again, which constitutes the common link between types of conduct which are otherwise before heterogeneous in character.

This essential link may sometimes be overlooked due to the length of sentences in this section and their lack of clarity.

1. Section 6(2), however, does not include the purpose of gaining admission to a prohibited place.

Offences Against the National Security Back

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