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Report No. 43

34. Divulging official secrets.- (1) If any person, having in his possession any official secret,-

(a) uses it for the benefit of any foreign State or in any manner prejudicial to the national security; or

(b) wilfully communicates it to any person other than a person to whom he is authorised to communicate it, or a person to whom it is, in the interests of State, his duty to communicate, or a Court of Justice; or

(c) retains it when he has no right to do so, or when it is contrary to his duty to do so, or wilfully fails to comply with any direction issued by lawful authority with regard to its return or disposal; or

(d) fails to take reasonable care of, or so conducts himself as to endanger the safety of the official secret, he shall

(i) if the official secret is one specified in clause (b) or clause (c) of section 33, be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine;

(ii) in other cases, be punishable with imprisonment for three years, or with fine, or with both.

(2) If any person receives any official secret knowing or having reason to believe that it is communicated to him in contravention of sub-section (1) of this section or section 33, he shall

(i) If the official secret is one specified in clause (b) or clause (c) of section 33, be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine;

(ii) in other cases, be punishable with imprisonment for three years, or with fine, or with both.

(3) For the purposes of sub-section (2) a person who is in possession of an official secret without lawful authority may be presumed, until the contrary is proved to have received it knowing or having reason to believe that it is communicated to him in contravention of sub-section (1) of this section or section 33, as the' case may be.

(4) In this section, "official secret" means any thing or information-

(a) which is specified in clause (b) or clause (c) of section 33; or

(b) which has been entrusted in confidence to the offender by any person holding office under the Government; or

(c) which the offender has obtained or to which he has had access owing to his position as a person who holds or has held office under Government, or as a person who holds or has held a contract made on behalf of Government, or as a person who is or has been employed under a person who holds or has held such an office or contract.



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