ARC recommends repealing of Official Secrets Act

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New Delhi, Nov 22 (UNI) The Government today told the Rajya Sabha that the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) in its report ''Right to Information -- Master Key to Good Governance'' has inter-alia recommended that the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1923 should be repealed and substituted by a chapter in the National Security Act, containing provisions relating to official secrets.

Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachauri, in a written reply, said the ARC has also recommended that the existing section 5 of the OSA may be reformulated on the lines recommended by the Shourie Committee.

The OSA is the only law on the statute book to deal with cases of espionage and wrongful possession and communication of sensitive information detrimental to security of the State.

Mr Pachauri further said this law has stood the test of time.

Therefore, it is neither desirable nor necessary to repeal this law. However, the government has initiated action to consider the recommendation of the ARC to reformulate the existing section 5 of OSA.

On the exemption from implementation of RTI Act, Mr Pachauri said organisations like the Office of Secretary (Security), Cabinet Secretariat, the Special Protection Group, the Central Vigilance Commission, the Border Road Development Board, the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Railway Protection Force, the Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation), the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence, the National Technical Research Organisation, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Armed Forces (Army, Airforce, Navy and Coast Guard) have sought exemption from implementing the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The Special Protection Group, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Border Road Development Board and the Financial Intelligence Unit, India have been included in the Second Schedule of the RTI Act.

These organisations have been included in the Schedule in view of the nature of their activities.

UNI

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