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Report No. 179

7. Powers of the Competent Authority.-

(1) Without prejudice to the powers conferred on the Competent Authority under any other law for the time being in force, the Competent Authority or any person or agency authorized by it in writing, for the purpose of any inquiry (including preliminary inquiry, if any, before such inquiry) under this Act, may require any public servant or any other person who in its opinion will be able to furnish information or produce documents relevant to the inquiry, to furnish any such information or produce any such document.

(2) For the purpose of any such inquiry (including the preliminary inquiry), the Competent Authority or any person or agency authorized by it in writing shall have all the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely:-

(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;

(b) requiring the discovery and production of any document;

(c) receiving evidence on affidavits;

(d) requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any Court or office;

(e) issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;

(f) such other matters as may be prescribed.

(3) All proceedings before the Competent Authority or any person or agency authorized by it in writing shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of section 193 of the Indian Penal Code.

(4) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (5), no obligation to maintain secrecy or other restriction upon the disclosure of information obtained by or furnished to Government or any public servant, whether imposed by the Official Secrets Act 1923 or any other enactment or by any rule of law, shall be claimed by any public servant in the proceedings before the Competent Authority or any person or agency authorized by it in writing and the Government or any public servant shall not be entitled in relation to any such inquiry, to any such privilege in respect of the production of documents or the giving of evidence as is allowed by any enactment or by any rule of law in legal proceedings.

(5) No person shall be required or be authorized by virtue of this Act to furnish any such information or answer any such question or produce so much of any documen.-

(a) as might prejudice the security or defence or international relations of India (including India's relations with the Government of any other country or with any international organization), or the ongoing investigation of crime; or

(b) as might involve the disclosure of proceedings of the Cabinet of the Union Government or any Committee of that Cabinet and for the purpose of this sub-section a certificate issued by a Secretary to the Government of India certifying that any information, answer or portion of a document is of the nature specified in clause (a) or clause (b), shall be binding and conclusive.

(6) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (4), no person shall be compelled for the purposes of inquiry under this Act to give any evidence or produce any document which he could not be compelled to give or produce in proceedings before a Court.



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