Britain is the first country in the world to enact an official secrecy law. The Official Secrets Act was first enacted in Britain in 1889. When such a law was being introduced in Britain, there was no reason to exclude India from it. In the same year, the Official Secrets Act, 1889 was also implemented in India. Later, in order to curb journalism, some provisions were made more stringent by amending that law in 1904. Under this, all the offenses were made cognizable and non-bailable. Later in Britain and India, many changes took place to this law. Eventually, the new law in India became the Official Secrets Act, 1923. That law is still in force in the country even though the Right to Information has made it irrelevant. information Section 22 of the Rights Act, 2005 clearly states that there is nothing inconsistent therewith contained in the provisions of this Act, the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and any other law for the time being in force or in any writing having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. Notwithstanding will be effective.
There is no definition of 'privacy' in the Official Secrets Act 1923. That is why it has been called black law. It is up to the government to decide what to keep a secret. This law is enough to land any person in jail by terming any ordinary government document as 'confidential'. As such, this law has given unlimited, undefined, and absolute powers to the executive. However, in this, the court can decide whether something is confidential or not. Nevertheless, if the executive wants, it can easily harass any citizen or journalist with the help of this law.
After independence, many important bodies/commissions have recommended changing this law or making extensive changes to it. The First Press Commission, 1954 also reiterated this point. The Deshmukh Study Group of the First Administrative Reforms Commission, 1968, demanded the removal of the irrational and unnecessary provisions of provisions relating to official secrecy, due to which the flow of information is obstructed. The Law Commission of India, in its report on 'National Security in 1971, referred to Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and suggested that such simple disclosures, which do not affect the interest of the State, should not be allowed to be prosecuted. Similar recommendations were made by the Press Council of India in 1981 in its report titled 'Official Secrecy and the Press'. did. The Second Press Commission 1982 also demanded its repeal.
Despite these recommendations, this law is still in place. However, the Right to Information has made it irrelevant. The Second Administrative Reforms Commission, 2006, set up under the chairmanship of Veerappa Moily, has even suggested the repeal of this law. US Justice Berger, in Rosenblatt v. Baer (1966, 383, US 75, 49-95) observed, “The public's right to be heard is inherent in its right to speak. The right to information for common citizens is more important than the right of the government or any broadcasting licensee or any person to disseminate their views on any subject.
Herald J. According to Lasky- "Those who do not get reliable and genuine information, their freedom is in danger. It is natural for them to be destroyed today or tomorrow. Truth is the main heritage of any nation and those who try to suppress or hide it or who try to hide it." They are afraid of being exposed, their destiny is to be ruined.