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Report No. 78

4.14. Official Secrets Act.-

So far as offences under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 are concerned1, the reasons which have weighed with us in keeping them non-bailable, even though the punishment prescribed for some of them is three years, are the same that weighed when the Official Secrets (Amendment) Act, 1967 was passed. In the Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill2 which subsequently took the form of the Act3, while making the offences under the Act non-bailable, it was stated as under:-

"The protection of official secrets is regulated by the Indian Official Secrets Act, 1923. Except for a few minor amendments made in 1951, the Act has remained unmodified since it was enacted more than forty years ago. In view of the changed circumstances after the attainment of independence and the wide variety of unscrupulous methods which anti-national elements have of late been adopting to secure their ends, it has become necessary to amend the Act suitably to remove certain shortcomings and to make it more effective.

1. For other offences affecting national security, see Appendix 3.

2. Bill No. 9 of 1967 introduced in Rajya Sabha on 23rd June, 1967.

3. Statements of Objects and Reasons dated 8th June, 1967.

* * * * * * *

In the context of problems of internal and external security which the country faces at present, it is necessary to make offences under the Act cognisable and non-bailable and to enhance the maximum penalties prescribed for certain offences. It is, therefore, proposed to enhance the punishments for the Offences suitably while ensuring, at the same time, that all offences under the Act become cognizable and non-bailable."

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